Lance v. State, No. 381S62

Docket NºNo. 381S62
Citation425 N.E.2d 77
Case DateAugust 27, 1981
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 77

425 N.E.2d 77
James LANCE, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).
No. 381S62.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Aug. 27, 1981.

Page 78

George W. Gesenhues, Jr., New Albany, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Michael Gene Worden, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

HUNTER, Justice.

James Lance was convicted by a jury of robbery, a class A felony. Ind.Code § 35-42-5-1 (Burns 1979 Repl.). He was sentenced to the Indiana Department of Corrections for a period of fifty years. In his direct appeal, he raises the following issues for our review:

1. Whether the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence a pair of pants allegedly worn by defendant during the crime; and

2. Whether the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence a tape recording and transcription of defendant's confession. The record reveals that on the evening of February 26, 1980, Mr. and Mrs. Olin Hammer of New Albany, Indiana, were robbed in their home by two young men. Five dollars were taken from the victims; the seventy year old Mr. Hammer was severely beaten in the course of the robbery. The subsequent police investigation culminated in the arrest of defendant for the crime and conviction at issue here.

I.

Defendant maintains the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence a pair of pants allegedly worn by him during the commission of the robbery. His contention is based on the assertion that the trousers were seized in violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Whether a particular warrantless seizure violates the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. South Dakota v. Opperman, (1976) 428 U.S. 364, 96 S.Ct. 3092, 49 L.Ed.2d 1000; Guardiola v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 404, 375 N.E.2d 1105. The state bears the burden of proving that the warrantless seizure fell within an exception to the warrant requirement. Bruce v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 180, 375 N.E.2d 1042; Ludlow v. State, (1974) 262 Ind. 266, 314 N.E.2d 750. In our review of a trial court's ruling, we do not weigh the evidence; rather; we examine the evidence most favorable to the ruling, together with any uncontradicted adverse evidence. Bruce v. State, supra; Rihl v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 413 N.E.2d 1046.

The question whether the warrantless seizure at issue violated defendant's constitutional guarantees turns on the applicability of the "plain view" doctrine, a well-recognized exception to the Fourth Amendment requirement. Pursuant to the doctrine, a police officer rightfully occupying a particular location who inadvertently discovers items of readily apparent criminality may properly seize the items; evidence so seized is both admissible as evidence and usable for derivative purposes, for the seizure is not regarded as the product of a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Coolidge v. New Hampshire, (1971) 403 U.S. 443, 91 S.Ct. 2022, 29 L.Ed.2d 564; United States v. Gray, (6th Cir. 1973) 484 F.2d 352; Bruce v. State, supra; Candler v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 440, 363 N.E.2d 1233; Alcorn v. State, (1970) 255 Ind. 491, 265 N.E.2d 413; see generally, Berner Search and Seizure: Status and Methodology 8 Val.U.L.Rev. 471, 574 (1974). The elements of the "plain view" doctrine serve to define and perpetuate the standard of reasonableness to

Page 79

which, pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, police are required to conform their conduct.

The record reveals that shortly after the robbery, New Albany police officers interviewed the Hammers. Mrs. Hammer described the perpetrators as approximately eighteen years of age and "very dirty" in appearance. Mr. Hammer stated that the two men, as part of their sham to gain entry to the residence, had indicated they knew Joe Fable, a young man who occasionally did yard work for the Hammers.

The New Albany police immediately contacted Fable, who resided in Louisville, Kentucky. Fable had few acquaintances in the New Albany area and indicated to police that, based on the age and lack of cleanliness of the perpetrators, the Lance brothers should be suspected. Fable agreed to escort police to the Lance residence.

Shortly after midnight Fable accompanied five policemen, two of whom were in uniform, to the home of defendant and his three brothers. Fable waited at the car while the officers proceeded to the front door. Detective Paul Parsons knocked on the door, which was answered by three of the brothers. According to Parsons, he then identified the group to the brothers, who told the officers "to step in and come into the house." The officers entered, placing themselves in an area approximately two to eight feet from and adjacent to the front door, just inside the Lances' living room. Parsons orally advised the brothers of their rights and asked them if they would accompany the officers to police headquarters for a talk.

The brothers, who were in various states of undress, began to put on clothing in the living room, which also doubled as a bedroom for three of the brothers. Piles of clothing littered the floor of the room. As the brothers reached for clothing from the various piles, the officers, wary for their personal safety, watched closely. From his position among the officers, Sergeant Dana Mertz observed some trousers lying on top of a pile of clothing at his feet. Mertz, who ultimately seized the trousers, testified on direct examination:

A. "* * * Of course, I'm not going to let anyone especially a suspect reach down in a heap of clothing without me watching them. I looked down and I seen the pants and I picked the pants up and I said who do these belong to? And at that time none said anything. The reason I seen the pants was because like I said, there was mud on them on the bottom...

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19 practice notes
  • Smith v. State, No. 182S19
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • July 24, 1984
    ...motion to suppress and permitting the admission of the evidence. Hope v. State, (1982) Ind., 438 N.E.2d 273; Lance v. State, (1981) Ind., 425 N.E.2d 77; Humes v. State, (1981) Ind., 426 N.E.2d 379; Murrell v. State, (1981) Ind., 421 N.E.2d Defendant claims the trial court erred by failing t......
  • Fair v. State, No. 49S04-9312-CR-1439
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 30, 1993
    ...disputes resolved in favor of the ruling, as well as any uncontested evidence favorable to the appellant. Lance v. State (1981), Ind., 425 N.E.2d 77; Whitt v. State (1977), 266 Ind. 211, 361 N.E.2d 913. In this sense, the standard of review differs from the typical sufficiency of the eviden......
  • State v. Reagan, No. 13262
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 30, 1988
    ...Ill.Dec. 14, 20, 515 N.E.2d 1285, 1291 (1987), appeal denied, 119 Ill.2d 561, 119 Ill.Dec. 389, 522 N.E.2d 1248 (1988); Lance v. State, 425 N.E.2d 77, 80 (Ind.1981); State v. Drouhard, 31 Or.App. 1083, 1086, 572 P.2d 331 Page 845 (1977); State v. Monahan, 76 Wis.2d 387, 394, 251 N.W.2d 421 ......
  • State v. McLaughlin, No. 4-883
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 19, 1984
    ...conducted by law enforcement agents without a warrant falls within an exception to the warrant requirement. Lance v. State, (1981) Ind., 425 N.E.2d 77, 78; Bruce v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 180, 228, 375 N.E.2d 1042, 1068. We will recognize the validity of a warrantless seizure short of arres......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Smith v. State, No. 182S19
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • July 24, 1984
    ...motion to suppress and permitting the admission of the evidence. Hope v. State, (1982) Ind., 438 N.E.2d 273; Lance v. State, (1981) Ind., 425 N.E.2d 77; Humes v. State, (1981) Ind., 426 N.E.2d 379; Murrell v. State, (1981) Ind., 421 N.E.2d Defendant claims the trial court erred by failing t......
  • Fair v. State, No. 49S04-9312-CR-1439
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 30, 1993
    ...disputes resolved in favor of the ruling, as well as any uncontested evidence favorable to the appellant. Lance v. State (1981), Ind., 425 N.E.2d 77; Whitt v. State (1977), 266 Ind. 211, 361 N.E.2d 913. In this sense, the standard of review differs from the typical sufficiency of the eviden......
  • State v. Reagan, No. 13262
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 30, 1988
    ...Ill.Dec. 14, 20, 515 N.E.2d 1285, 1291 (1987), appeal denied, 119 Ill.2d 561, 119 Ill.Dec. 389, 522 N.E.2d 1248 (1988); Lance v. State, 425 N.E.2d 77, 80 (Ind.1981); State v. Drouhard, 31 Or.App. 1083, 1086, 572 P.2d 331 Page 845 (1977); State v. Monahan, 76 Wis.2d 387, 394, 251 N.W.2d 421 ......
  • State v. McLaughlin, No. 4-883
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 19, 1984
    ...conducted by law enforcement agents without a warrant falls within an exception to the warrant requirement. Lance v. State, (1981) Ind., 425 N.E.2d 77, 78; Bruce v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 180, 228, 375 N.E.2d 1042, 1068. We will recognize the validity of a warrantless seizure short of arres......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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