Kelly v. State

Decision Date21 November 2013
Docket NumberNo. 30S01–1303–CR–220.,30S01–1303–CR–220.
Citation997 N.E.2d 1045
PartiesDanielle KELLY, Appellant (Defendant below), v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).
CourtIndiana Supreme Court


James W. McNew, Jon A. Keyes, Greenfield, IN, Attorneys for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, J.T. Whitehead, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 30A01–1112–CR–584

MASSA, Justice.

Danielle Kelly here appeals the denial of her motion to suppress evidence found in a search of her vehicle and inculpatory statements she made to police. We reverse.

Facts and Procedural History

On September 15, 2010, Sergeant Michael Fuller of the Fortville Police Department received a phone call from dispatch to inform him that Ms. Carolyn Goodwin wished to speak with him. After talking to Goodwin on the phone, Sergeant Fuller went to Goodwin's home, and she told him that in an effort to “help clean up her community” she had arranged a sort of amateur sting operation. Tr. at 10. Specifically, Goodwin stated she “knew of” an African–American man from Indianapolis who had been selling cocaine to several of her friends in Fortville bars, and she became “tired of seeing it,” so she obtained his phone number and arranged to purchase some cocaine from him. 1Tr. at 11. This man, Goodwin told Sergeant Fuller, was now on his way to her home to make delivery, but she had no money to pay him, and she was afraid he had a gun and would harm her. Goodwin did not provide Sergeant Fuller with the man's name or any further physical description of him or his vehicle.

Sergeant Fuller proceeded to Goodwin's home. After he arrived, he overheard Goodwin taking several phone calls from a man asking directions to her residence, but he never heard Goodwin mention drugs during the calls. In anticipation of the caller's arrival, Sergeant Fuller contacted Fortville Police Chief Benjamin Kiphart and another officer for assistance, and they waited outside in the squad car while Sergeant Fuller waited inside with Goodwin.

Soon, a vehicle pulled into a parking lot near Goodwin's home. Kelly's cousin, Lamont A. Day, was driving, and Kelly was sitting in the passenger seat. Goodwin confirmed that Day was the man she had been expecting. Police approached the vehicle with their guns drawn, ordered Kelly and Day to exit the vehicle, and handcuffed them. Chief Kiphart began to interview Kelly in the parking lot while Sergeant Fuller and another officer began an inventory search of the vehicle. During that search, the officers came upon a screwdriver with a yellow handle; the handle had been hollowed out, and they found cocaine inside.

Some portion of Chief Kiphart's interview with Kelly in the parking lot was recorded on his shoulder mic camera. The video shows Kelly sitting on the front bumper of her car with her hands cuffed behind her back. Chief Kiphart informed Kelly they had found the cocaine:

Chief Kiphart: “Well, he didn't throw it out the window. It's still in the car.”

Kelly: “OK, well, I didn't know that. Oh Lord.”

Chief Kiphart: “You said you knew about it.”

Kelly: “I did know about it, but he said he felt something when we passed McCordsville and seen the red car.”

Chief Kiphart: “OK. Well, unfortunately, you knew about it. It was in the car.

Kelly: “OK.”

Chief Kiphart: “So ...”

Ex. 1 at 21:19. At this point, Kelly rose to her feet and turned to her left side.

Kelly: “Can we go now?”

Chief Kiphart: “Nope. You're gonna sit down there. Right now.”

Kelly: “I don't feel like sitting right now. My nerves are bad. I just need to breathe.”

Chief Kiphart: “Sit down, please, before I put you down.”

Kelly: “This car is hot. It's really hot.”

Chief Kiphart: “OK, it's not that hot.”

Kelly: “Yes, it—”

Chief Kiphart: “Sit down before you get yourself in more trouble.”Ex. 1 at 21:42. Kelly sat back down on the front bumper of the car.

Kelly: “I can't breathe.”

Chief Kiphart: “You are smart, right?”

Kelly: “Yes.”

Chief Kiphart: “OK.”

Kelly: “I'm just trying to get home to my baby ... [inaudible]

Chief Kiphart: “What's your name?”

Kelly: “My name is Danielle Kelly.”

Chief Kiphart: “Danielle, OK.”

Kelly: “Oh, Lord.”

Chief Kiphart: “You ever heard of Miranda warning?”

Kelly: [shaking her head]

Chief Kiphart: “OK. Miranda warning—I'm gonna read this to you, OK? You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to speak with a lawyer before you're asked any questions and have him with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand your rights?”

Kelly: [nodding]

Chief Kiphart: “OK. Do you want to answer any questions?”

Kelly: “How soon can I have a phone call?”

Chief Kiphart: “You can have a phone call when you go to jail.”

Kelly: “My parents going to kill me ...”

Chief Kiphart: “Do you wish to answer any questions now?”

Kelly: “What am I going to jail for?”

Chief Kiphart: “Do you want to be cooperative with us? At this point right now, probably possession of cocaine and intent to deal.”

Kelly: “But I wasn't dealing.”

Chief Kiphart: “You were in the vehicle.”

Kelly: “But—at the time ...”

Chief Kiphart: “You knew about it. You knew your cousin had cocaine on him. It is your car.

Kelly: “OK.”

Chief Kiphart: “I mean, they just keep stacking up.”

Kelly: “OK.”

Chief Kiphart: “You said. You told me.”

* * * * * *

Chief Kiphart: “Did he say what he was riding for?”

Kelly: “No.”

Chief Kiphart: “Oh. That's not what you told me, like, thirty seconds ago.”

Another Officer: “You just told us you did.”

Chief Kiphart: “You knew he had the cocaine.”

Kelly: “Yeah. Once he ...”

Chief Kiphart: “Once you got in the car, you knew he had it. You should have said ‘Get out.’

Kelly: “Not—not at the beginning.”

Ex. 1 at 21:55.

Kelly was charged with two Class A felonies: dealing in cocaine within one thousand feet of a public park or youth program center (Ind.Code § 35–48–4–1 (2008 & Supp.2013)), and possession of cocaine within one thousand feet of a public park or youth program center (Ind.Code § 35–48–4–6 (2008 & Supp.2013)). By counsel, she moved to suppress the evidence found during the search of her vehicle and the statements she made to Chief Kiphart, arguing both were obtained in violation of her state and federal constitutional rights. At a hearing on the motion, Sergeant Fuller testified Goodwin had never served as an informant before. He knew she was an alcoholic and drank daily, but he didn't recall whether she was intoxicated when he saw her on September 15. Sergeant Fuller also testified that at the time the officers stopped the car and ordered the occupants out at gunpoint, the only evidence he had that Kelly was involved in illegal activity was her presence in the car. Chief Kiphart testified as well, asserting he read Kelly her Miranda rights before the cocaine was found and before he asked Kelly any questions.2 The trial court ultimately denied Kelly's motion except as to the statements she made before she received the Miranda warning.

At Kelly's request, the trial court certified that order for interlocutory appeal, and the Court of Appeals accepted jurisdiction. Kelly v. State, 2012 WL 3755693 (Ind.Ct.App. Aug. 30, 2012) at *2. In an unpublished opinion, the panel affirmed the trial court's order. Id. at *8. Kelly sought rehearing, and the panel granted her request, but affirmed its original opinion in all respects, writing only to confirm that it weighed Chief Kiphart's references to Kelly's pre-warning admission during post-warning questioning but found they did not amount to coercion. Kelly v. State, 2013 WL 210275 (Ind.Ct.App. Jan. 18, 2013) at *2.

We granted transfer. Kelly v. State, 985 N.E.2d 338 (Ind.2013) (table); Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).

Standard of Review

When reviewing a trial court's denial of a defendant's motion to suppress, as in sufficiency of evidence analysis generally, we construe conflicting evidence in the light most favorable to the ruling. Holder v. State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 935 (Ind.2006). In the particular context of a motion to suppress, however, we will also consider any substantial and uncontested evidence favorable to the defendant. Id. (citing Murphy v. State, 747 N.E.2d 557, 559 (Ind.2001); Ogle v. State, 698 N.E.2d 1146, 1148–49 (Ind.1998)).

The constitutionality of a search or seizure is a question of law, and we review it de novo. Campos v. State, 885 N.E.2d 590, 596 (Ind.2008) (citing Myers v. State, 839 N.E.2d 1146, 1150 (Ind.2005)). On any disputed issue of fact, we defer to the trial court's finding unless it is clearly erroneous; we will not reweigh the evidence. Id. (citing State v. Quirk, 842 N.E.2d 334, 340 (Ind.2006)).

The admission of evidence, including the defendant's own statement, is a matter entrusted to the trial court's sound discretion. Schmitt v. State, 730 N.E.2d 147, 148 (Ind.2000). We will reverse only if we find the decision below “clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances.” Joyner v. State, 678 N.E.2d 386, 390 (Ind.1997).

The Warrantless Seizure of Kelly's Person and Search of Her Vehicle Violated Her Constitutional Rights.

Kelly argues the seizure of her person and the search of her vehicle, both warrantless, violated the rights secured to her by the Fourth Amendment to our federal Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. Thus, warrantless searches “are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, subject to a ‘few specifically establishedand well-delineated exceptions.’ Holder, 847 N.E.2d at 935 (...

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