Pawloski v. State, No. 476S127

Docket NºNo. 476S127
Citation380 N.E.2d 1230, 269 Ind. 350
Case DateOctober 10, 1978

Page 1230

380 N.E.2d 1230
269 Ind. 350
Kenneth J. PAWLOSKI, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 476S127.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Oct. 10, 1978.

[269 Ind. 352]

Page 1231

Rodney H. Bayless, Merrillville, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Daniel L. Pflum, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

Appellant was convicted on two counts of first degree murder by arson, pursuant to IC § 35-13-4-1 (Burns 1975). He was sentenced to life imprisonment on each count.

Appellant alleges the trial court erred in denying his pre-trial motion to suppress a written confession made while in police custody.

First he contends the confession was the fruit of an illegal arrest in violation of his right against unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Sec. 11 of the Constitution of Indiana. Arrest must be based upon probable cause. Probable cause has been defined as those facts and circumstances known to the arresting officer that would warrant a reasonable man to believe that [269 Ind. 353] a crime had been committed by the suspect. Gaddis v. State (1977), Ind., 368 N.E.2d 244; Peterson v. State (1968), 250 Ind. 269, 234 N.E.2d 488. Evidence obtained in an unlawful arrest may be excluded upon proper motion by the defendant. The scope of this exclusionary rule was defined in Wong Sun and James Wah Toy v. U. S. (1963), 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441; Mapp v. Ohio (1961), 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081; Callender v. State (1922), 193 Ind. 91, 138 N.E. 817.

In the case at bar a woman and a child were killed in a fire at the Saul Cohen Apartments at about midnight on Friday, January 17, 1975. On that night the appellant called one, James Chambers, and told him that he had set fire to the apartment building by igniting a railroad flare and throwing it in the mailbox of the building. Chambers testified that while driving home from work he saw that a fire had in fact occurred at the apartment building. He stopped and informed the investigating police officers that the appellant had called him earlier and admitted to setting off a flare in the building. Chambers was then taken to the police station where he was questioned concerning appellant's identity and probable location. The police were informed that appellant had had some legal problems with Saul Cohen. Based upon the information from Chambers, the police ordered appellant's arrest.

It must first be determined whether the information provided by Chambers was sufficient to establish probable cause or whether further corroboration of the reliability of Chambers' statement was necessary before the police were justified in ordering the appellant's arrest.

As a general rule an informant's reliability should be established before a finding of probable cause can be made. Reliability is usually shown by reference to (1) an informer's past record of reliability or (2) by extrinsic facts proving an informer's information reliable. Bowles v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 27, 267 N.E.2d 56.

[269 Ind. 354] There are two major types of informants and the test for determining the reliability of each is somewhat different:

( 1) Professional informants and anonymous tipsters; Generally, reliability of this category must be established by reference to underlying facts and circumstances which indicate that the information is trustworthy. Corroboration is necessitated because information of this type may be unreliable or self-serving, especially when given in return for favors such as money or leniency in possible criminal prosecution. Whiteley v. Warden, Wyoming State Penitentiary (1971), 401 U.S. 560, 91 S.Ct. 1031, 28 L.Ed.2d 306; Spinelli v. U. S. (1969), 393 U.S. 410, 89 S.Ct. 584, 21 L.Ed.2d 637.

(2) Cooperative citizens; This group includes victims of crime or persons who personally witness a crime. These individuals generally come forward with information out of the spirit of good citizenship and the desire to assist law enforcement officials in solving crime. They are usually one-time informants and no basis exists from prior dealings to determine their reliability. Further, information of this type usually goes to past completed crimes rather than future or continuing crimes. Some jurisdictions have therefore held that informants of this type are to be considered reliable for

Page 1233

the purpose of determining probable cause unless incriminating circumstances exist which cast suspicion upon the informant's reliability. Layne v. State (1975), Ind.App., 329 N.E.2d 612; People v. Bevins (1976), 6 Cal.App.3d 421, 85 Cal.Rptr. 876; Erickson v. State (1973), Alaska, 507 P.2d 508; State v. Paszek (1971), 50 Wis.2d 619, 184 N.W.2d 836; People v. Hoffman (1970), 45 Ill.2d 221, 258 N.E.2d 326; People v. Wolfe (1967), 5 Mich.App. 543, 147 N.W.2d 447. Cf. Jaben v. U. S. (1965), 381 U.S. 214, 85 S.Ct. 1365, 14 L.Ed.2d 345; In re Boykin (1968), 39 Ill.2d 617, 237 N.E.2d 460; People v. Schader (1965), 62 Cal.2d 716, 44 Cal.Rptr. 193, 401 P.2d 665.

[269 Ind. 355] It should be noted that the requirement for corroboration is not totally eliminated. The amount of evidence necessary to satisfy the probable cause test is largely determined on a case-by-case basis. Wagner v. State (1968), 249 Ind. 457, 233 N.E.2d 236.

The case at bar involves a grey area between these two types of informants. Chambers was not a victim nor had he personally observed the crime. He based his conclusion solely upon the admissions of the appellant. He testified that he felt compelled to come forward with information which might be of assistance to the police even though it acted to incriminate and betray the confidence of a friend. Further, there were no circumstances which would have placed the reliability of Chambers in question. The police therefore had sufficient probable cause to order the appellant's arrest.

It next must be determined whether the officers were justified in proceeding immediately with the arrest without a warrant. Arrest warrants are required unless probable cause exists along with exigent circumstances rendering it impractical to seek a warrant or unless a crime is committed in the presence of an officer. Finch v. State (1975), 264 Ind. 48, 338 N.E.2d 629; Throop v. State (1970), 254 Ind. 342, 259 N.E.2d 875; Williams v. State (1969), 253 Ind. 316, 253 N.E.2d 242. Exigent circumstances have traditionally been found to exist when (1) a suspect is fleeing or likely to take flight to escape arrest or (2) evidence of contraband is threatened with destruction or removal unless an immediate arrest is made or (3) in cases involving hot pursuit or movable vehicles.

In the case at bar Chambers had made his statement to the police between twelve midnight and 4:00 a. m. on Saturday, January 18, 1975. Appellant's admitted acts had resulted in the death of two persons. The appellant knew that three of his friends could implicate him in [269 Ind. 356] the commission of the crime. Presented with this set of facts it seems unrealistic to require the police officers to...

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77 practice notes
  • Peterson v. State, No. 45S00-9103-DP-223
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 13, 1996
    ...generally, the reliability of an informant should be established before a finding of probable cause can be made. Pawloski v. State, 269 Ind. 350, 353, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1232 (1978). Reliability is usually shown by (1) an informer's past record of reliability or (2) by extrinsic facts proving......
  • Sheffield v. State Of Ala., CR-09-0357
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • November 5, 2010
    ...of the other circumstantial evidence did not result in reversible error. See Woods, supra; Marcus, supra. See, e.g., Pawloski v. State, 269 Ind. 350, 360, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1235 (1978) (no error for the trial court to allow the State to reopen its case-in-chief in order to establish the corp......
  • Sheffield v. State, CR–09–0357.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • January 20, 2012
    ...some of the other circumstantial evidence did not result in reversible error. SeeWoods, supra;Marcus, supra.See, e.g.,Pawloski v. State, 269 Ind. 350, 360, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1235 (1978) (no error for the trial court to allow the State to reopen its case-in-chief in order to establish the cor......
  • Graham v. State, No. 2-984A274
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 1985
    ...Rather, they were cooperative citizens aiding an ongoing criminal investigation of conduct they had witnessed. Pawloski v. State (1978), 269 Ind. 350, 354, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1232 (examining the significance of this distinction). The credibility of these informants was, under the circumstance......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
77 cases
  • Sheffield v. State, CR–09–0357.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • January 20, 2012
    ...some of the other circumstantial evidence did not result in reversible error. SeeWoods, supra;Marcus, supra.See, e.g.,Pawloski v. State, 269 Ind. 350, 360, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1235 (1978) (no error for the trial court to allow the State to reopen its case-in-chief in order to establish the cor......
  • Peterson v. State, No. 45S00-9103-DP-223
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 13, 1996
    ...generally, the reliability of an informant should be established before a finding of probable cause can be made. Pawloski v. State, 269 Ind. 350, 353, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1232 (1978). Reliability is usually shown by (1) an informer's past record of reliability or (2) by extrinsic facts proving......
  • Sheffield v. State Of Ala., CR-09-0357
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • November 5, 2010
    ...of the other circumstantial evidence did not result in reversible error. See Woods, supra; Marcus, supra. See, e.g., Pawloski v. State, 269 Ind. 350, 360, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1235 (1978) (no error for the trial court to allow the State to reopen its case-in-chief in order to establish the corp......
  • Graham v. State, No. 2-984A274
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 1985
    ...Rather, they were cooperative citizens aiding an ongoing criminal investigation of conduct they had witnessed. Pawloski v. State (1978), 269 Ind. 350, 354, 380 N.E.2d 1230, 1232 (examining the significance of this distinction). The credibility of these informants was, under the circumstance......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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