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Date: 11-04-2019

Case Style:

State of Indiana v. Tyree L. Harper

Case Number: 18A-CR-2811

Judge: Rudolph Pyle III

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA

Plaintiff's Attorney: Monika Prekopa Talbot Supervising Deputy Attorney General

Defendant's Attorney:

Description:


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In September 2015, Harper was placed on parole following a conviction for
possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and he signed a Conditional
Parole Release Agreement (“parole agreement”). Under paragraph 9, titled,
“HOME VISITATION AND SEARCH,” the parole agreement provided that:
I understand that I am legally in the custody of the Department of Correction and that my person and residence or property under my control may be subjected to reasonable search by my supervising officer, or authorized official of the Department of Correction if the officer or official has reasonable cause to believe
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Opinion 18A-CR-2811 | October 30, 2019 Page 3 of 16

the parolee is violating or is in imminent danger of violating a condition to remaining on parole.
(State’s Ex. 4). The parole agreement also provided that the use, possession, or
trafficking illegally of a controlled substance and out-of-state travel without
permission were parole violations.
[4] On June 16, 2016, Harper’s parole officer, Josh Jellison (“Parole Officer
Jellison”), received information from an anonymous source that Harper was
traveling to New York and dealing narcotics in Indianapolis. The complaining
party also stated that Harper had rented a storage unit on Mitthoeffer Road.
Four days later, Parole Officer Jellison called Harper in for a parole meeting
and administered a drug test wherein Harper tested positive for cocaine.
During this meeting, Harper also admitted to traveling to New York without
permission. Harper’s positive drug test and admission to traveling out of the
state were both violations of parole. Harper was arrested for the violations and
taken into custody at the parole office.
[5] Parole Officer Jellison and Harper then went to Harper’s home, and Parole
Officer Jellison conducted a warrantless search. During the search, Parole
Officer Jellison located a receipt, which was in Harper’s name, for a storage
unit at 2425 North Mitthoeffer Road. Parole Officer Jellison went to the
storage unit with Harper and unlocked the unit with one of Harper’s keys.
Inside the storage unit, in plain view, Parole Officer Jellison observed a black
handgun and a large, clear Ziploc bag containing a block of white substance.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Opinion 18A-CR-2811 | October 30, 2019 Page 4 of 16

Parole Officer Jellison immediately stopped this initial search of the storage unit
and advised an IMPD officer present of what he had observed.
[6] After obtaining a search warrant, the police seized the gun and white powder
block during their subsequent search of the storage unit. They also seized
another plastic bag with a white powdery substance, pills, and other materials
consistent with drug trafficking. A laboratory analysis disclosed that the storage
unit contained two batches of cocaine weighing 558.1 grams and 254.79 grams
and twelve fake .12-gram oxycodone pills containing heroin. Harper was then
transported to the custody of the Department of Correction (“DOC”).
[7] On June 29, 2016, the State charged Harper with Level 2 felony dealing in
cocaine in ten (10) or more grams, Level 3 felony possession of cocaine in
twenty-eight (28) or more grams, and Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a
firearm by a serious violent felon. According to the Chronological Case
Summary (“CCS”), an arrest warrant was issued and then recalled on June 30,
2016. The CCS further shows that an arrest warrant was again issued on June
30, 2016 and served over a year later, on August 16, 2017, when Harper was
released from the DOC.
[8] On April 10, 2018, Harper filed two motions in the trial court. First, Harper
filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing that the initial warrantless
search of the storage unit “exceeded the bounds of a proper ‘parole search’ and
was, in fact, an ‘investigatory search’ intended to discover evidence of new
criminal activity.” (App. 47). He argued that, as a result, the evidence seized
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Opinion 18A-CR-2811 | October 30, 2019 Page 5 of 16

pursuant to the search warrant during the subsequent search should be
suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree. Next, Harper filed a motion for
discharge under Criminal Rule 4(C). Harper argued that he had “not been
brought to trial within one (1) year of his arrest or the date that charges were
filed.” (App. 51).
[9] The trial court held a hearing on both motions on May 22, 2018. The trial
court granted Harper’s motion to suppress and denied his motion for discharge.
In regards to the motion to suppress, the trial court found that the search of
Harper’s person and residence were lawfully conducted by Parole Officer
Jellison but that the initial search of Harper’s storage unit required a search
warrant and violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and
Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. The State now appeals.

Outcome: The State argues that the trial court erred when it granted Harper’s motion to
suppress. Harper, as the cross-appellant, asserts that the trial court erred by
denying his motion to discharge pursuant to Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C). We
will address each issue in turn.

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