Meredith v. State, No. 89A04-0703-CR-148.

Docket NºNo. 89A04-0703-CR-148.
Citation878 N.E.2d 453
Case DateDecember 28, 2007
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana
878 N.E.2d 453
Kerry L. MEREDITH, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 89A04-0703-CR-148.
Court of Appeals of Indiana.
December 28, 2007.

[878 N.E.2d 454]

E. Thomas Kemp, Richmond, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Steve Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, George P. Sherman, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

NAJAM, Judge.


STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Kerry Meredith appeals his conviction for Possession of Cocaine, as a Class D felony, following a jury trial. He presents a single dispositive issue for our review, namely, whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted into evidence cocaine found in his car.

We reverse.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on October 13, 2005, Meredith was driving a vehicle in Richmond. Meredith was stopped at a red stoplight when Richmond Police Department Officer John Lackey pulled up behind him. Officer Lackey did not see a license plate displayed on Meredith's vehicle, so he shined his spotlight on the rear of the vehicle. Officer Lackey then saw a temporary vehicle tag in the rear window of the vehicle, but he could not read the expiration date. Accordingly, Officer Lackey initiated a traffic stop.1

As Officer Lackey approached Meredith's vehicle on foot, he saw the expiration date on the temporary tag and observed that it was still valid. Officer Lackey proceeded to the driver's side door of the vehicle and began talking to Meredith and his passenger. After Officer Lackey smelled an odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle, he asked Meredith to submit to a portable breath test. Meredith complied, and the test did not indicate that Meredith had been drinking. Officer Lackey then asked Meredith for permission to search the vehicle, and Meredith consented. Officer Lackey found a substance later determined to be cocaine on the floor of the vehicle behind the driver's seat and in the glove box.

The State charged Meredith with possession of cocaine. Meredith moved to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of his vehicle, but the trial court denied that motion following a hearing. A jury found Meredith guilty as charged, and the trial court entered judgment and sentence accordingly. This appeal ensued.

DISCUSSION AND DECISION

Meredith contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress evidence. In particular, he maintains that Officer Lackey's traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and that the evidence of his cocaine possession should have been excluded at trial. Although he originally challenged the admission of the evidence through a motion to suppress, Meredith appeals following a completed trial and challenges the admission of such evidence at trial. "Thus, the issue is . . .

878 N.E.2d 455

appropriately framed as whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the evidence at trial." Washington v. State, 784 N.E.2d 584, 587 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003). We have indicated that our standard of review of rulings on the admissibility of evidence is essentially the same whether the challenge is made by a pre-trial motion to suppress or by trial objection. Ackerman v. State, 774 N.E.2d 970, 974-75 (Ind.Ct.App.2002), trans. denied. We do not reweigh the evidence, and we consider conflicting evidence most favorable to the trial court's ruling. Overstreet v. State, 724 N.E.2d 661, 663 (Ind.Ct.App. 2000), trans. denied. However, we must also consider the uncontested evidence favorable to the defendant. See id.

Meredith contends that Officer Lackey's seizure of him violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides, in pertinent part: "[t]he right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. . . ." U.S. CONST. amend. IV. The Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures has been extended to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. See Berry v. State, 704 N.E.2d 462, 464-65 (Ind.1998). The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, and its safeguards extend to brief investigatory stops of persons or vehicles that fall short of traditional arrest. Moultry v. State, 808 N.E.2d 168, 170 (Ind.Ct. App.2004). However, a police officer may briefly detain a...

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4 practice notes
  • Meredith v. State, No. 89S04-0808-CR-430.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 28, 2009
    ...Ind. 16, 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975), and Sims v. State, 274 Ind. 495, 413 N.E.2d 556 (1980). The Court of Appeals reversed. Meredith v. State, 878 N.E.2d 453 (Ind.Ct. App.2007), reh'g granted, 886 N.E.2d 79 (Ind.Ct.App.2008). We granted transfer and now affirm the conviction, concluding that pol......
  • Parmeter v. Cass Cty Dept. of Child Serv., No. 09A05-0703-JV-158.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 28, 2007
    ...the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Mother's motion to strike the GAL report because Mother did not show that the 878 N.E.2d 453 GAL had a conflict of interest when she wrote and filed the However, we conclude that the trial court's findings do not support the judgme......
  • Young v. State, No. 49A02-0709-CR-829.
    • United States
    • May 27, 2008
    ...of possession of cocaine. DISCUSSION AND DECISION The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Meredith v. State, 878 N.E.2d 453, 455 (Ind.Ct.App.2007). A police officer may briefly detain someone whom the officer believes has committed an infraction. State v. Harris, ......
  • Meredith v. State, No. 89A04-0703-CR-148.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 15, 2008
    ...the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted into evidence cocaine found in the car of Kerry Meredith. See Meredith v. State, 878 N.E.2d 453 (Ind.Ct. App.2007) ("Meredith I"). In particular, the State asserts that the cocaine was admissible because it was obtained pursua......
4 cases
  • Meredith v. State, No. 89S04-0808-CR-430.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 28, 2009
    ...Ind. 16, 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975), and Sims v. State, 274 Ind. 495, 413 N.E.2d 556 (1980). The Court of Appeals reversed. Meredith v. State, 878 N.E.2d 453 (Ind.Ct. App.2007), reh'g granted, 886 N.E.2d 79 (Ind.Ct.App.2008). We granted transfer and now affirm the conviction, concluding that pol......
  • Parmeter v. Cass Cty Dept. of Child Serv., No. 09A05-0703-JV-158.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 28, 2007
    ...the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Mother's motion to strike the GAL report because Mother did not show that the 878 N.E.2d 453 GAL had a conflict of interest when she wrote and filed the However, we conclude that the trial court's findings do not support the judgme......
  • Young v. State, No. 49A02-0709-CR-829.
    • United States
    • May 27, 2008
    ...of possession of cocaine. DISCUSSION AND DECISION The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Meredith v. State, 878 N.E.2d 453, 455 (Ind.Ct.App.2007). A police officer may briefly detain someone whom the officer believes has committed an infraction. State v. Harris, ......
  • Meredith v. State, No. 89A04-0703-CR-148.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 15, 2008
    ...the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted into evidence cocaine found in the car of Kerry Meredith. See Meredith v. State, 878 N.E.2d 453 (Ind.Ct. App.2007) ("Meredith I"). In particular, the State asserts that the cocaine was admissible because it was obtained pursua......

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