State v. Belcher, No. 02A03-9906-CR-212.

Docket NºNo. 02A03-9906-CR-212.
Citation725 N.E.2d 92
Case DateFebruary 23, 2000
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

725 N.E.2d 92

STATE of Indiana, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
Rodney BELCHER, Appellee-Plaintiff

No. 02A03-9906-CR-212.

Court of Appeals of Indiana.

February 23, 2000.

Rehearing Denied April 18, 2000.


Jeffrey A. Modisett, Attorney General of Indiana, Liisi Brien, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Attorneys for Appellant.

P. Stephen Miller, Fort Wayne, Attorney for Appellee.

OPINION

FRIEDLANDER, Judge.

The State of Indiana charged Rodney Belcher with one count of carrying a handgun without a license, a class C felony, and

725 N.E.2d 93
one count of resisting law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor. Prior to trial, the trial court granted Belcher's motion to suppress evidence relative to a handgun Belcher dropped at the time of his arrest. The State presents as the sole issue for review the correctness of that ruling

We reverse.

The undisputed facts are that the southwest quadrant of the City of Fort Wayne is a high crime area. At approximately 3 a.m. on August 8, 1998, the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) and the Allen County Police Department (ACPD) were conducting a saturation patrol of that quadrant. FWPD Officer Scott Adam and ACPD Officer Stan Pflueger were patrolling the area in a marked squad car and Officers Gary Isley and Todd Battershell were patrolling the area in a different car. There was a public pay telephone located on a street corner at that location. Officer Battershell, a three-year FWPD veteran, chose that particular location because drug dealers, prostitutes, and pimps in the area were known to use that telephone.

At approximately the same time, the officers in the two cars spotted Belcher walking down the street. Although it was hot and humid, Belcher was walking with his hands inside the pockets of the nylon jacket that he was wearing. When Belcher saw the police cruisers, he changed direction and did not make eye contact with the officers as he continued to walk away. As Officers Battershell and Isley observed from a distance, Officer Adam activated his flashing lights and pulled over beside Belcher on the opposite side of the road.

Officer Adam rolled down his window and asked Belcher, "How are you doing? Can you step over here?" Record at 33. Belcher, who did not remove his hands from his pockets, responded, "I didn't do anything." Id. Officer Adam opened his door and Belcher took off running. Officer Adam ordered Belcher to stop, but Belcher did not comply. Officer Adam saw two objects fall from Belcher's pockets as he ran. Officers Battershell and Isley joined in the pursuit. Officers Adam and Isley apprehended Belcher after a brief chase. Officer Battershell returned to the spot where he saw the items drop from Belcher's pocket. He found a handgun and an accompanying ammunition magazine lying on the ground. Belcher was subsequently charged with carrying a handgun without a license and resisting law enforcement. He submitted a motion to suppress the handgun and the magazine, contending that they were the fruits of an illegal arrest. The trial court agreed with Belcher and granted the motion to suppress.

We review a trial court's decision to grant a motion to suppress as a matter of sufficiency. Wilson v. State, 670 N.E.2d 27 (Ind.Ct.App.1996). When conducting such a review, we neither reweigh evidence nor judge witness credibility. Id. The trial court in this instance granted the motion to suppress on the basis that the observations made by Officers Adam, Battershell, Isley, and Pflueger "were insufficient to justify an investigatory stop of Belcher." Record at 18. The trial court's conclusion was erroneous.

In Wilson v. State, 670 N.E.2d 27, this court was confronted with a factual scenario similar in some important respects to the instant case. In Wilson, the defendant was standing in a vacant lot located in a high crime area at 1:00 a.m. Police officers observed as the defendant and another person exchanged an object. The officers pulled their squad car over and shined their spotlight on the defendant and the other man. The two men turned and walked between two nearby houses, where it appeared they attempted to hide. The police officers got out of their car, advanced on the men, and shouted, "Stop! Police!" Id. at 29. The defendant and the other man fled and the police pursued, once again ordering the two fleeing suspects to halt. During the chase, one of the police officers saw the defendant put a

725 N.E.2d 94
balled up piece of brown paper in his mouth. Police eventually caught up with the defendant. While the officer conducted a pat down search, the defendant spit out the object he had placed into his mouth

The trial court denied the defendant's motion to suppress and the defendant appealed. This court's analysis centered upon the question of whether the police in that case had conducted a valid Terry stop. In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), the United States Supreme Court ruled that, without probable cause or a warrant, the police can briefly detain a person for investigatory purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The Court determined that such a stop need not be based upon probable cause necessary to effect an arrest under the Fourth Amendment, but must be based upon specific and articulable facts that give rise to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Indiana has adopted the Terry...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 practice notes
  • Garcia-Torres v. State, No. 64A03-0812-CR-630.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 30, 2009
    ...is determined on a case-by-case basis by engaging in a fact-sensitive analysis of the totality of the circumstances. State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 94 (Ind.Ct. App.2000), trans. denied. "Law enforcement officers must have more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch,......
  • State v. Fridy, No. 65A01-0509-CR-418.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 20, 2006
    ...a trial court's decision to grant a motion to suppress as a matter of sufficiency. Moriarity, 832 N.E.2d at 557-58; State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 93 (Ind.Ct. App.2000), trans. denied. When conducting such a review, we will not reweigh evidence or judge witness credibility. Moriarity, 832......
  • Jamerson v. State, No. 49A02-0608-CR-779.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 2007
    ...necessary for probable cause, but they must have more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch. State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 94 (Ind.Ct.App.2000), trans. denied. Reasonable suspicion is determined on a case-by-case basis by looking at the totality of the circumstances. B......
  • Manigault v. State, No. 49A02-0707-CR-565.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 22, 2008
    ..."[T]he reasonable-suspicion inquiry is fact-sensitive and thus must be determined on a case-by-case basis." State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 94 (Ind.Ct.App.2000), trans. denied. Officers "must have more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch, but need not ha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Garcia-Torres v. State, No. 64A03-0812-CR-630.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 30, 2009
    ...is determined on a case-by-case basis by engaging in a fact-sensitive analysis of the totality of the circumstances. State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 94 (Ind.Ct. App.2000), trans. denied. "Law enforcement officers must have more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch,......
  • State v. Fridy, No. 65A01-0509-CR-418.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 20, 2006
    ...a trial court's decision to grant a motion to suppress as a matter of sufficiency. Moriarity, 832 N.E.2d at 557-58; State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 93 (Ind.Ct. App.2000), trans. denied. When conducting such a review, we will not reweigh evidence or judge witness credibility. Moriarity, 832......
  • Manigault v. State, No. 49A02-0707-CR-565.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 22, 2008
    ..."[T]he reasonable-suspicion inquiry is fact-sensitive and thus must be determined on a case-by-case basis." State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 94 (Ind.Ct.App.2000), trans. denied. Officers "must have more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch, but need not ha......
  • Jamerson v. State, No. 49A02-0608-CR-779.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 2007
    ...necessary for probable cause, but they must have more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch. State v. Belcher, 725 N.E.2d 92, 94 (Ind.Ct.App.2000), trans. denied. Reasonable suspicion is determined on a case-by-case basis by looking at the totality of the circumstances. B......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT