State v. Dodson

CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana
Citation733 N.E.2d 968
Docket NumberNo. 49A02-0002-CR-100.,49A02-0002-CR-100.
PartiesSTATE of Indiana, Appellant-Plaintiff, v. Darius DODSON, Appellee-Defendant.
Decision Date09 August 2000

733 N.E.2d 968

STATE of Indiana, Appellant-Plaintiff,
Darius DODSON, Appellee-Defendant

No. 49A02-0002-CR-100.

Court of Appeals of Indiana.

August 9, 2000.

Rehearing Denied September 11, 2000.

733 N.E.2d 969
Karen M. Freeman-Wilson, Attorney General of Indiana, Timothy W. Beam, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana, Attorneys for Appellant

733 N.E.2d 970
Steven J. Rubick, Poynter, Nelson & Rubick, Indianapolis, Indiana, Attorney for Appellee


KIRSCH, Judge.

The State appeals the trial court's order granting Darius Dodson's motion to suppress, contending that the trial court erred in determining that the State had failed to prove that the search of Dodson's car interior was legal and the results admissible.

We reverse.


On September 27, 1999, at approximately 3:30 a.m., Officer Morton Gallagher of the Indianapolis Police Department was standing on the corner of Tenth and Arlington Streets when his attention was drawn to a vehicle that had its stereo playing loudly. Officer Gallagher saw the car pull into a closed gas station, park and turn off its lights. The driver of the vehicle, Dodson, stepped out of the car, urinated on the ground, and got back in his car.

Officer Gallagher drove over to the gas station and approached Dodson's vehicle. He asked Dodson what he was doing and Dodson replied that he was waiting for a friend. Officer Gallagher noticed Dodson's hands moving around in the vehicle to the right of Dodson's body and he asked Dodson to step outside the vehicle. Dodson nodded, but did not immediately comply with this request, and he continued to move his hands around inside the vehicle. Officer Gallagher again ordered Dodson out of the vehicle and grabbed the car door handle. At this point, Dodson got out of his car and in response to questioning by Officer Gallagher, explained that he had been looking for his cell phone charger.

When Dodson exited the vehicle, Officer Gallagher noticed that he was wearing an empty shoulder holster and had a pair of handcuffs dangling from his front pocket. Officer Gallagher patted Dodson down and asked him the location of his weapon. Dodson responded that he left his gun at home and explained that he was a Marion County Special Deputy. Officer Gallagher placed Dodson in handcuffs and conducted a search of his vehicle. Officer Gallagher found a handgun underneath the console of Dodson's vehicle to the right of the driver's seat. Officer Gallagher then confirmed that Dodson was not a Marion County Special Deputy.

Dodson was arrested and charged with impersonation of a public servant, a Class D felony,1 and carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor.2 The carrying a handgun without a license charge was subsequently enhanced to a Class C felony because Dodson had a prior felony conviction within fifteen years of this offense.3

On October 7, 1999, Dodson filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to suppress. After a hearing, the trial court granted the motion to suppress and denied the motion to dismiss. On November 12, 1999, the trial court granted the State's motion to dismiss the pending charges against Dodson. The State now appeals.


In reviewing an appeal of the grant of a motion to suppress, we note that the State has the burden of demonstrating the constitutionality of its search. State v. Ashley, 661 N.E.2d 1208, 1211 (Ind.Ct. App.1995). Also, as this is an appeal of a negative ruling, we will reverse only when the evidence is without conflict and all reasonable inferences from the evidence lead to an opposite conclusion than that which was reached by the trial court. Id. "[W]e consider the evidence most favorable to the ruling and any uncontradicted

733 N.E.2d 971
evidence to the contrary to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the ruling." Melton v. State, 705 N.E.2d 564, 566 (Ind.Ct.App.1999). Furthermore, we will not reweigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses. Ashley, 661 N.E.2d at 1211

The trial court found that the officer's stated suspicion for the stop, that Dodson violated the noise ordinance and committed public indecency, was pretextual, because the officer also testified that he suspected that Dodson was a drunk driver. Furthermore, the trial court concluded that Officer Gallagher had no reasonable suspicion to search Dodson's vehicle and as such, the search of an interior component of Dodson's automobile was illegal and unreasonable.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons . . . against unreasonable search and seizures." U.S. CONST. amend. IV. "Generally, a search must be reasonable and conducted pursuant to a properly issued warrant. When a search is conducted without a warrant, the State bears the burden of proving the search was justified under one of the limited exceptions to the warrant requirement." Webb v. State, 714 N.E.2d 787, 788 (Ind.Ct.App.1999). One such exception is that a police officer can briefly detain a person for investigatory purposes even without probable cause, if the officer has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968). The requirement of reasonable suspicion is satisfied when the facts known to the officer, together with the reasonable inferences arising therefrom, would permit an ordinary prudent person to believe that criminal activity has or was about to occur. Taylor v. State, 639 N.E.2d 1052, 1054 (Ind.Ct.App.1994). It must be comprised of more than an officer's general "hunches" or unparticularized suspicions. Webb, 714 N.E.2d at...

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8 cases
  • State v. Glass, 21A01-0201-CR-43.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 10, 2002
    ...we consider the evidence most favorable to the ruling together with any adverse evidence that is uncontradicted. State v. Dodson, 733 N.E.2d 968, 970-71 (Ind.Ct.App.2000), reh'g At issue in this case is an investigatory stop. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits ......
  • Wilson v. State, 49A04-0012-CR-519.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 14, 2001
    ...Even if the stop was pretextual, this does not render the subsequent search unconstitutional if the stop was lawful. State v. Dodson, 733 N.E.2d 968, 972 (Ind.Ct.App.2000). A police officer's subjective motives are irrelevant in Fourth Amendment analysis, and a stop will be valid provided t......
  • State v. Gladney, 49A02-0304-CR-339.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 15, 2003
    ...of a crime, but to allow the officer to pursue his investigation without fear for his safety or the safety of others." State v. Dodson, 733 N.E.2d 968, 971 (Ind.Ct.App.2000). An officer may only conduct a limited search for weapons when he has a reasonable belief that the suspect is armed a......
  • Parish v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 14, 2011
    ...with officer's request to keep his hands on the dashboard, and passenger had his fingertips inside his jacket); see also State v. Dodson, 733 N.E.2d 968, 970 (Ind.Ct.App.2000) (holding that police officer had reasonable concern for safety justifying protective search of car during traffic s......
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