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Date: 01-05-2018

Case Style:

Gregory A. Traylor v. State of Indiana

Search warrant leads to drug and weapon seizure near Columbus

Case Number:

Judge: Patricia A. Riley

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA

Plaintiff's Attorney: Caroline G. Templeton
Deputy Attorney General

Defendant's Attorney: Ross G. Thomas

Description: On August 3, 2017, an investigator with the Indiana State Police obtained and
executed a search warrant for Traylorís home located at 7650 West State Road
46, in Bartholomew County, Indiana. During the search, one ounce of
methamphetamine, fifteen pounds of marijuana, and four grams of heroin were
recovered. Because there were copious amounts of pseudoephedrine in
Traylorís home, the methamphetamine suppression unit was summoned for
assistance. The methamphetamine unit seized several items linked to the
manufacturing of methamphetamine, including organic solvents, drain
cleaners, and containers. The Indiana State Police also recovered at least
seventy firearms. Lastly, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) located numerous improvised explosive
devices on Traylorís property.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 3 of 9

[5] On August 9, 2017, the State filed an Information, charging Traylor with Count
I, manufacturing of methamphetamine, a Level 2 felony; Count II, dealing in
methamphetamine, a Level 2 felony; Count III, possession of a narcotic, a
Level 5 felony; Count IV, possession of a destructive device, a Level 5 felony;
and Count V, dealing in marijuana, a Level 5 felony. A bench warrant for
Traylorís arrest was issued on the same day, and the trial court set Traylorís
bond at ď$5,000,000 or 10% CASH.Ē (Appellantís App. Vol. II, p. 12).
Pursuant to Traylorís request, on August 31, 2017, the trial court conducted a
bond review hearing to reduce his bond. At the close of the hearing, the trial
court denied Traylorís request.
[6] Traylor now appeals. Additional facts will be provided as necessary.
DISCUSSION AND DECISION
[7] Traylor appeals the trial courtís denial of his motion to reduce bail, contending
that the $5,000,000 bail was excessive and beyond the amount necessary to
protect the community and to ensure his appearance at future proceedings. The
amount of bail is within the discretion of the trial court and will be reversed on
appeal only for an abuse of that discretion. Lopez v. State, 985 N.E.2d 358, 360
(Ind. Ct. App. 2013). ďAn abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court's
decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances
before it.Ē Sneed v. State, 946 N.E.2d 1255, 1257 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011). We will
not reweigh the evidence, and we consider any conflicting evidence in favor of
the trial courtís ruling. Collins v. State, 822 N.E.2d 214, 218 (Ind. Ct. App.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 4 of 9

2005), trans. denied. ďThe amount [of bail] is to be determined by consideration
of the circumstances of each case and is to be set only in an amount necessary
to assure the presence of the accused at an appropriate time and his submission
to the authority of that court.Ē Mott v. State, 490 N.E.2d 1125, 1127 (Ind. Ct.
App. 1986).
[8] The Indiana Constitution prohibits excessive bail. See Ind. Const. art. 1, ß 16.
Bail is ďa traditional and cherished right,Ē the goal of which is not to punish in
advance of conviction but to assure the defendantís appearance in court. Fry v.
State, 990 N.E.2d 429, 434 (Ind. 2013).
The right to freedom by bail pending trial is an adjunct to that revered Anglo-Saxon aphorism which holds an accused to be innocent until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless that right is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, will lose its meaning.
Id. (citations omitted).
[9] In setting a reasonable amount of bail, Indiana Code Section 35-33-8-4(b)
specifically requires the court to take into account all facts relevant to the risk of
nonappearance, including
(1) the length and character of the defendant's residence in the community;
(2) the defendantís employment status and history and his ability to give bail;
(3) the defendantís family ties and relationships;
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 5 of 9

(4) the defendantís character, reputation, habits, and mental condition;
(5) the defendantís criminal or juvenile record, insofar as it demonstrates instability and a disdain for the courtís authority to bring him to trial;
(6) the defendantís previous record in not responding to court appearances when required or with respect to flight to avoid criminal prosecution;
(7) the nature and gravity of the offense and the potential penalty faced, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance;
(8) the source of funds or property to be used to post bail or to pay a premium, insofar as it affects the risk of nonappearance;
(9) that the defendant is a foreign national who is unlawfully present in the United States under federal immigration law; and
(10) any other factors, including any evidence of instability and a disdain for authority, which might indicate that the defendant might not recognize and adhere to the authority of the court to bring him to trial.
[10] Motions to reduce bail are provided for by Indiana Code Section 35-33-8-5(c),
which states: ď[w]hen the defendant presents additional evidence of substantial
mitigating factors, based on the factors set forth in [Indiana Code section 35-33
8-4(b)], which reasonably suggests that the defendant recognizes the courtís
authority to bring the defendant to trial, the court may reduce bail.Ē Even
though the statute governing motions to reduce bail implicitly places the burden
on the defendant to establish that the trial courtís setting of bail was excessive,
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 6 of 9

the statute does not by its terms require a showing of changed circumstances in
order for the trial court to reduce bail. Rather, I.C. ß 35-33-8-5(c) refers to the
same statutory factors relevant to the initial setting of bail. See Sneed, 946
N.E.2d at 1258-59. ďWhile there is a conceptual and legal distinction between
the review of the trial courtís decision in initially setting bail and review of its
discretion in declining to reduce bail, the two inquiries substantially overlap.Ē
Id. at 1258.
[11] Here, in considering Traylorís motion to reduce bail, the trial court conducted a
hearing and received evidence, considering the statutory factors listed in
Indiana Code Section 35-33-8-4(b). Applying the statutory factors, we
recognize that most of the factors favor a bond reduction. At the hearing,
Traylor presented uncontroverted evidence of his close ties to the community.
He was born in Jasper, Indiana and has lived in Bartholomew County since he
was fifteen years old. Traylorís mother, his two siblings, and Traylorís three
adult children reside in the County. He testified that he maintains close family
contact and two of his children were present in his support at the bail reduction
hearing. Traylor advised the court that he owned a home in Columbus,
Indiana, where he would reside pending trial. He did not object to being placed
on pre-trial home detention as a condition of bail.
[12] In addition, Traylor informed the court that he had worked as a city employee
for the City of Columbus for approximately twenty years, until 1997. Since
1997, he has cashed in his retirement and worked in construction, doing
remodeling work as a contractor. As to Traylorís criminal history, evidence
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 7 of 9

indicates that he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conviction for operating
while intoxicated in 1987, for which he successfully completed probation. He
never missed a court hearing, nor is there any evidence suggesting a disdain for
the courtís authority to bring him to trial. In short, factors 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and
10 favor Traylorís request to reduce bail.
[13] However, factor 7 directs us to consider the gravity of the charges and the
potential penalties Traylor faces. At his bond review hearing, the trial court
noted that if Traylor was convicted for his offenses, he potentially faced thirty
year sentences for each of his two Level 2 felonies, and six years for each of his
three Level 5 felony offenses. The trial court also noted the seriousness of
Traylorís offenses and stated:
You look at the probable cause affidavit as well as Stateís Exhibit Number 2, which was admitted here today in regard to the types and quantities of alleged controlled substances and alleged [drug] processes that were going on in the home where Mr. Traylor allegedly lived. But the [c]ourt cannot ignore that either and the [c]ourt does find that it is significant in regard to posting bond or setting bond in this matter as to the safety of other persons and the community. Iím not going to ignore the heightened depths in the past year that we have experienced in this community. The heightened community crisis that we are in surrounding drugs. It is serious, it is real and it is here.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 8 of 9

(Tr. Vol. II, p. 34).1
[14] Nevertheless, Traylorís bail of $5,000,000 is high in comparison to cases where
defendants facing similarly severe charges have challenged their bail as
excessive. See, e.g., Wertz v. State, 771 N.E.2d at 680-82 (affirming bail of
$1,000,000 for defendant charged with one Count of Class A felony dealing in
cocaine, when trial court found defendant posed a risk to safety of others and
defendant had a history of failing to appear in court); Custard v. State, 629
N.E.2d 1289, 1292 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994) (affirming bail of $275,000 for
defendant charged with one Count of Class A felony dealing in cocaine);
Sherelis v. State, 452 N.E.2d 411, 414 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983) (holding $1,000,000
bail was excessive; defendant was charged with five Counts of delivery of a
controlled substance, including four as Class A felonies, but had strong
community ties and reputation and no criminal history).
[15] Mindful of the statutory factors and the record, it becomes apparent that the
bail amount set by the trial court is unreasonably high. Traylor is a long
established resident of Bartholomew County, with strong family and
community contacts. He has real estate investments in the State and is without



1 No evidence was presented on factor 4, i.e., evidence of Traylorís character, reputation, habits, and mental conditions. See I.C. ß 35-33-8-4(b).
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 03A01-1709-CR-2017 | December 29, 2017 Page 9 of 9

a relevant criminal record. While we acknowledge the seriousness of the
charges brought against Traylor, the trial courtís statement alluding to the
present heightened community crisis due to the presence of drugs leads us to
believe that the bail amount was set as a punishment rather than to secure
Traylorís appearance in court. See Fry, 990 N.E.2d at 434. As ďbail should be
tailored to the individual in each circumstance,Ē we conclude Traylorís bail of
$5,000,000 to be excessive, we reverse the trial courtís decision and remand to
the court with instructions to set a reasonable bond.

Outcome: Based on the foregoing, we hold that the trial court abused its discretion in
denying Traylorís motion to reduce his bond amount of $5,000,000 and remand
with instructions for the trial court to set a reasonable bond amount based on
the relevant statutory factors.

Reversed and remanded with instructions.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments:



 
 
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