K.Y. v. State, 22A-JV-1014

Citation22A-JV-1014
Case DateSeptember 23, 2022
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

K.Y., Appellant-Respondent,
v.

State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.

No. 22A-JV-1014

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 23, 2022


Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Danielle P. Gaughan, Judge The Honorable Peter Haughan, Magistrate Trial Court Cause No. 49D15-2111-JD-9375

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Valerie K. Boots Indianapolis, Indiana Jan B. Berg Indianapolis, Indiana

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Theodore E. Rokita Attorney General of Indiana Samuel J. Dayton Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

MEMORANDUM DECISION

ALTICE, JUDGE.

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Case Summary

[¶1] K.Y. was adjudicated a delinquent child for being in dangerous possession of a firearm in violation of Ind. Code § 35-47-10-5. On appeal, he contends that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of the handgun recovered from his person during an alleged unconstitutional investigatory stop.

[¶2] We affirm.

Facts & Procedural History

[¶3] Just before noon on November 1, 2021, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Officer Andrew Marr was dispatched to about the 900 block of Gray Street based on an anonymous 911 call. According to Officer Marr: "The specific description for the armed person run … was two black males, with long clips, brandishing weapons. One was in a yellow hoodie, and one was in a gray hoodie." Transcript at 8. Officer Marr also portrayed the dispatch description as being "two males carrying guns with long clips walking down Gray street in bright hoodies." Id.

[¶4] About an hour earlier, Officer Marr had heard a shots fired run over the radio that involved three teenage males, one white and two black, all wearing "bright colored hoodies." Id. at 6. Officer Marr had not been dispatched to that earlier run near Brookside Park, and he did not testify to knowing anything more about that run other than that the caller was not anonymous.

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[¶5] Upon being dispatched to the armed persons run, which was about one-half mile from Brookside Park, Officer Marr thought that the run might be related to the earlier one based on the descriptions of the suspects. He then observed K.Y., a young black male, walking down the middle of Gray Street "wearing a bright yellow hoodie." Id. Quante Bailey, another young black male, was walking with K.Y. Bailey had a handgun in his waistband, which was immediately apparent to Officer Marr.

[¶6] Based on his observations, Officer Marr pulled his marked patrol car up to K.Y. and Bailey and directed them to stop. K.Y. moved to the side of the street and was compliant. Officer Marr and another officer then exited the police vehicle and approached. After removing the handgun from Bailey's waistband, Officer Marr patted down Bailey and K.Y. Officer Marr discovered "a Glock twenty-three handgun within [K.Y.'s] underwear." Id. at 18. K.Y., who was sixteen years old, was arrested for carrying a handgun without a permit; Bailey was not arrested because he was an adult with a valid handgun permit.

[¶7] At his delinquency hearing on February 7, 2022, K.Y. objected to evidence obtained as a result of the stop, which he argued was unsupported by reasonable suspicion and, therefore, unconstitutional. The trial court, however, admitted the evidence related to the handgun recovered from K.Y.'s person. Based on this evidence, the trial court adjudicated K.Y. a delinquent for having committed dangerous possession of a firearm.

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[¶8] At the dispositional hearing on April 11, 2022, the trial court placed K.Y. on formal probation with a suspended commitment to the Indiana Department of Correction. K.Y. now appeals.

Discussion & Decision

[¶9] K.Y. argues, as he did below, that he was stopped by Officer Marr without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and that the resulting search of his person violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.[1]Asserting that the detention was illegal, K.Y. contends that the handgun discovered during the search should have been suppressed.

[¶10] K.Y. appeals from a completed trial, and, thus, our standard of review is whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the challenged evidence at trial. See Segar v. State, 937 N.E.2d 917, 920 (Ind.Ct.App. 2010); see also Tinker v. State, 129 N.E.3d 251, 255 (Ind.Ct.App. 2019), trans. denied. In making such a determination, we will not reweigh the evidence but, rather, will consider conflicting evidence in a light most favorable to the trial court's ruling. Segar, 937 N.E.2d at 920. Where, as here, however, a challenge is based on the constitutionality of a search or seizure of evidence, it raises a

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question of law that we review de novo. See Thomas v. State, 81 N.E.3d 621, 624 (Ind. 2017); Segar, 937 N.E.2d at 92.

[¶11] It is well established that an officer can make a brief investigatory stop of a person - a Terry stop - if the officer "observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot." Johnson v. State, 157 N.E.3d 1199, 1203-04 (Ind. 2020) (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968)), cert. denied. Though a less demanding standard than probable cause, or even a preponderance of the evidence, reasonable suspicion "still requires at least a minimal level of objective justification and more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch' of criminal activity." State v. Schlechty, 926 N.E.2d 1, 7 (Ind. 2010); see also Johnson, 157 N.E.3d at 1204 (observing that officer must be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences, reasonably warrant the intrusion).

[¶12] When determining whether the stop was justified by some objective indication that the person stopped was, or was about to be, engaged in criminal activity, we consider the totality of the circumstances. Clark v. State, 994 N.E.2d 252, 263 (Ind. 2013). "In assessing the whole picture, we must examine the facts as known to the officer at the moment of the...

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