Sanchez v. State, 1269S311

Decision Date11 March 1971
Docket NumberNo. 1269S311,1269S311
Citation267 N.E.2d 374,256 Ind. 140
PartiesRobert SANCHEZ, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Palmer K. Ward, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., J. Frank Hanley, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.


Defendant (Appellant) was charged with and convicted of a violation of the 1935 Narcotics Act, as amended, (1956 Repl.), Burns' § 10--3538. He has assigned as error the trial court's overruling of his motion to suppress evidence obtained by a search of his person immediately following his arrest and its denial of his motion for a new trial.

Going first to the motion to suppress, the evidence at the hearing thereon disclosed that arresting Officer Jones was one of the party of officers that went to the apartment of the defendant and his wife for the purpose of arresting the wife upon a warrant. Officer Jones went to the side of the premises while others entered from the front. From this position Officer Jones could observe the north side of the house and inside the basement, and while thusly engaged he saw defendant, whom he knew to be a narcotics user, in the basement, inject himself with an improvised hypodermic contraption and place the contraption under a rug. During this interval Officer Mukes and another officer had entered the front of the premises and were in the process of reading the arrest warrant to defendant's wife. Officer Jones entered from the front, and at approximately this same time the defendant entered the room from the basement. Officer Jones, experienced in matters involving narcotics users, observed that the defendant's arm was bleeding slightly in the area of the injection and that he appeared to ge under the influence of narcotids. He placed defendant under arrest on a charge of possessing an 'outfit' (an instrument adapted for the use of narcotic drugs by injection in a human being), in violation of the above mentioned narcotics law, and Officer Mukes searched his person and found a small quantity of marijuana, which was the evidence sought to be suppressed. It is defendant's contention that there was no probable cause for the arrest and that, accordingly, the search was illegal and the product thereof inadmissible.

'It is settled law that 'A peace officer may arrest without a warrant when he has reasonable and probable cause for believing that a felony is being, or has been, committed by the person arrested'.' Johns v. State (1956), 235 Ind. 464, 134 N.E.2d 552.

'Probable cause justifying an arrest without a warrant exists where facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge or of which he had reasonable trustworthy information, would lead a reasonably prudent person under the conditions at the time to believe a crime had been committed.' Manson v. State (1967), 249 Ind. 53, 229 N.E.2d 801.

We find that there was probable cause for the arrest of the defendant, that the search of his person was legal as incident to a lawful arrest, that the search was properly limited in scope and that the marijuana came into 'plain view' during the search and was therefore seizable as evidence of a separate crime.

Defendant strenuously denied the facts set forth above and offered testimony which, if believed, might have explained away the incriminating circumstances. That it is not the duty of this Court, on appeal, to weigh the evidence or determine the credibility of witnesses, but merely to look to that evidence and the reasonable inferences therefrom which tend to support the finding of the trial court is too well established to warrant further discussion. Croney v. State (1969), Ind., 247 N.E.2d 501; Stock v. State (1966), 247 Ind. 532, 219 N.E.2d 809; Asher v. State (1969), Ind., 244 N.E.2d 89.

Relying upon the case of Chimel v. California (1969), 395 U.S. 752, 89 S.Ct. 2034, 23 L.Ed.2d 685, defendant asserts that notwithstanding the lawfulness of the arrest the subsequent search went beyond lawful limits. It is true that the Supreme Court of the United States held in the Chimel case that the search far exceeded the bounds acceptable to it; beyond that, however, there is no similarity between the circumstances of that case and the one at bar. In the Chimel case the Supreme Court of the United States had occasion to set forth those principles underlying the permissible scope of searches incident to a lawful arrest. Mr. Justice Stewart, speaking for the court, stated:

'In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee's person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction. * * * There is ample justification, therefore, for a search of the arrestee's person and the area within his immediate control--construing that phrase to mean the area from which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.' (Emphasis added)

Applying those guidelines we cannot say that the search of the defendant exceeded lawful limits, and we affirm the trial court's ruling upon the motion to suppress.

Appellant's motion for a new trial, omitting the formal portion, is as follows:

'Comes now the defendant in the above entitled cause, Robert G. Sanchez, and respectfully moves the court for a new trial herein on the following grounds and reasons, to-wit:

1. That the court erred in overruling defense counsel's Motion to Suppress the evidence; that the arrest of the (defendant) was illegal and in violation of his constitutional rights.

2. The court erred in overruling defense counsel's Motion to Suppress the evidence for the reason that the search warrant...

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26 cases
  • Sizemore v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • March 19, 1974
    ...between the search of an arrestee's person and the search of the area beyond his person but within his control. In Sanchez v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 140, 267 N.E.2d 374, appellant's conviction based on evidence seized from his person pursuant to a search incident to arrest was affirmed. Jus......
  • Dearing v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • August 29, 1979 the facts and circumstances within the knowledge of the officers at the time that they made the arrests. Sanchez v. State, (1971) 256 Ind. 140, 142, 267 N.E.2d 374. In this case, the resolution of this issue turns upon the specificity of the descriptions and the degree to which the arres......
  • Foster v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • May 9, 1994
    ...defendant committed the criminal act in question." Battle v. State (1981), 275 Ind. 70, 415 N.E.2d 39, 42; see also Sanchez v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 140, 267 N.E.2d 374. In the present case, the officers had knowledge of Foster's criminal history, found a handgun under the mattress on whic......
  • Lewis v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • March 10, 1976
    ...weigh the evidence nor determine the credibility of the witnesses. Coleman v. State, supra; Fuller v. State, supra; Sanchez v. State, (1971), 256 Ind. 140, 267 N.E.2d 374; Rusher v. State, (1971), 256 Ind. 520, 270 N.E.2d The substantive evidence against the defendant came from two witnesse......
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