Torres v. State, No. 282S66

Docket NºNo. 282S66
Citation442 N.E.2d 1021
Case DateDecember 14, 1982
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1021

442 N.E.2d 1021
Antonio J. TORRES, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 282S66.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Dec. 14, 1982.

Page 1023

John D. Clouse, Michael C. Keating, Laurie A. Baiden, Evansville, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Palmer K. Ward, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

Appellant was convicted by a jury of Child Molesting, a Class A felony, and Child Molesting, Class B felony. He was sentenced to two terms of twenty (20) years to be served consecutively.

The record discloses that Deputy Sheriff George Ballard received a manila envelope with no return address in the mail. The envelope contained a file card and fourteen Polaroid photographs. The typewritten message on the file card identified appellant, his girlfriend and the little girl, who was the victim in this case, as the persons in the photographs. The child's mother was also identified by her maiden name.

The photographs depict appellant and the then three year old victim in various poses involving masturbation, fondling, sexual intercourse and fellatio. Two photographs involve sexual activity between appellant's girlfriend and the victim. One photograph shows the child nude from the waist down lying on the floor. Deputy Ballard located the victim's mother at her home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. During the trial the victim's mother testified her family lived in the same apartment building as appellant and his girlfriend. In December, 1978, appellant's girlfriend asked if the victim could spend the night with them. After discussion with her husband, they consented. The victim's mother was not aware of any sexual activities that occurred until Deputy Ballard contacted her.

Appellant claims the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the photographic evidence and admitting those exhibits into evidence. During the hearing on appellant's motion to suppress, he testified the photographs had been taken during a burglary of his apartment. He thereafter received telephone calls from an unknown person who extorted money from appellant in return for the photographs. Instead of the pictures being returned to appellant, they were mailed to Deputy Ballard. The evidence was examined for fingerprints. However, the police were unable to match the only print found on the card included with the photographs. Deputy Ballard testified he did not know who had mailed the envelope to him. He stated during the hearing neither appellant nor his girlfriend had been the subject of any law enforcement investigation. Nor had any agent or person authorized by law enforcement been ordered to enter appellant's apartment to gather information to his knowledge. He also did not know of any private persons having been solicited by law enforcement agencies to enter the residence of appellant.

Appellant argues the trial court's ruling violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and self-incrimination.

The constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures provide protection from such acts by the government. The state and federal constitutional provisions do not apply to unauthorized acts of private citizens. Zupp v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 625, 283 N.E.2d 540; Gunter v. State, (1971) 257 Ind. 524, 275 N.E.2d 810; Burdeau v. McDowell, (1921) 256 U.S. 465, 41 S.Ct. 574, 65 L.Ed. 1048.

Appellant fails to argue or cite authority to support his Fifth Amendment claim. He has, therefore, waived this issue for appellate review. Carman v. State, (1979) Ind., 396 N.E.2d 344, Ind.R.App.P. 8.3(A)(7).

Page 1024

Appellant claims the trial court erred in admitting State's Exhibit 2, the file card on which the appellant's name, the victim's name and the victim's mother's name were listed. He contends the evidence was inadmissible hearsay. The trial court alternatively ruled the evidence to be admissible as part of the res gestae and to show why Officer Ballard acted on the information as he did.

Hearsay is an out of court statement offered in court to prove the truth of the matter stated therein. The value of the statement rests upon the credibility of a declarant who is not in court or otherwise unavailable for cross-examination. McClain v. State, (1980) Ind., 410 N.E.2d 1297. Words simultaneously uttered at the time of the occurrence, transaction or accident at issue may be admissible within the res gestae exception to the hearsay rule. Hernandez v. State, (1982) Ind., 439 N.E.2d 625. The written statement on the file card was made two years after the offenses charged and constituted no part of it. The trial court erroneously ruled the card was admissible as part of the res gestae.

Nor do we believe the trial court correctly ruled the statement was admissible to show why the police officer acted as he did. We have held "testimony of a police officer which merely relates to an investigation of alleged crimes and establishes only that the information was received within the officer's own knowledge is not objectionable hearsay." Roberts v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 348, 375 N.E.2d 215, citing Ballard v. State, (1974) 262 Ind. 482, 318 N.E.2d 798. In the case at bar, the incriminating statement made by an unknown and unavailable declarant specifically named appellant as the perpetrator of the offenses portrayed by the photographs. Any explanation of Officer Ballard's conduct in his investigation would have been properly limited to his testimony that he followed leads provided by the card.

Although we hold the statements on the card were inadmissible, the error committed was harmless error. Ample identification evidence, other than the statement on the file card,...

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30 practice notes
  • Kindred v. State, No. 285S67
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 8, 1988
    ...in Stark v. State (1986), Ind., 489 N.E.2d 43, Groves v. State (1983), Ind., Page 298 456 N.E.2d 720, and Torres v. State (1982), Ind., 442 N.E.2d 1021. The foundation requirements for the admission of photographs as substantive evidence under the silent witness theory are obviously vastly ......
  • Averhart v. State, No. 1182S414
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 29, 1984
    ...admissible not only as demonstrative evidence but as substantive evidence under the silent witness theory. Torres v. State, (1982) Ind., 442 N.E.2d 1021. In this regard it is held that the photographs speak for themselves when, as here, there is a strong showing of the photographs' competen......
  • Mason v. Hanks, No. 95-1908
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 27, 1996
    ...a tip may be admitted to explain why the police acted as they did, the content of the tip is ordinarily not admissible. Torres v. State, 442 N.E.2d 1021 (Ind.1982), makes just this point. The defendant in that case had molested a child and recorded the crime in photographs. An unknown indiv......
  • Linke v. Northwestern School Corp., No. 34S05-0103-CV-151.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 5, 2002
    ...prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures provide protection from such acts by the government."); Torres v. State, 442 N.E.2d 1021, 1023 (Ind.1982) (same); cf. New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 335, 105 S.Ct. 733 ("[T]his Court has never limited the [Fourth] Amendment's prohib......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Kindred v. State, No. 285S67
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 8, 1988
    ...in Stark v. State (1986), Ind., 489 N.E.2d 43, Groves v. State (1983), Ind., Page 298 456 N.E.2d 720, and Torres v. State (1982), Ind., 442 N.E.2d 1021. The foundation requirements for the admission of photographs as substantive evidence under the silent witness theory are obviously vastly ......
  • Averhart v. State, No. 1182S414
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 29, 1984
    ...admissible not only as demonstrative evidence but as substantive evidence under the silent witness theory. Torres v. State, (1982) Ind., 442 N.E.2d 1021. In this regard it is held that the photographs speak for themselves when, as here, there is a strong showing of the photographs' competen......
  • Mason v. Hanks, No. 95-1908
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 27, 1996
    ...a tip may be admitted to explain why the police acted as they did, the content of the tip is ordinarily not admissible. Torres v. State, 442 N.E.2d 1021 (Ind.1982), makes just this point. The defendant in that case had molested a child and recorded the crime in photographs. An unknown indiv......
  • Linke v. Northwestern School Corp., No. 34S05-0103-CV-151.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 5, 2002
    ...prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures provide protection from such acts by the government."); Torres v. State, 442 N.E.2d 1021, 1023 (Ind.1982) (same); cf. New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 335, 105 S.Ct. 733 ("[T]his Court has never limited the [Fourth] Amendment's prohib......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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