On April 28, 2011, State trooper stopped Austin who was driving a semi-tractor and trailer. Trooper White stopped Austin because he thought a trailer like Austin’s would normally be pulled by a pickup truck. When Trooper White inspected Austin’s logbooks and papers, he noted Austin had been off duty for the past 7 days. That made Trooper White suspicious, because he believed truck drivers do not make money if they are not working. Because of his suspicions, Trooper White made a call and learned Austin “had been involved in a bulk cash seizure” in Michigan. Trooper White finished his inspection of Austin’s records, and asked for Austin’s consent to search the truck. Austin declined and was told the he was free to go. Later, Trooper Dockery stopped Austin after he saw 2 traffic violations. He obtained Austin’s logbook and documents, and noted Austin had not logged the prior stop by Trooper White. He characterized Austin as “nervous” and was concerned because a document for a car Austin was hauling indicated the vehicle was not to be picked up until the following month. Austin’s bill of lading was handwritten, and typically such forms from “businesses that are conducting legitimate business” will be typed. Trooper Dockery had a drug-sniffing dog with him, and the dog indicated it detected the odor of illegal drugs in Austin’s trailer. There were 2 cars inside the trailer, and the police obtained a warrant to search them. They found a number of vacuum-sealed “bricks” in both cars, some of which were tested and found to be cocaine. The State charged Austin with 2 counts of felony dealing in cocaine. After being found guilty, he was sentenced to 40 years.
On Appeal, Austin argued the cocaine seized from him should not have been admitted at trial because police should not have stopped him a second time after they released him from the initial stop. Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana constitution provides “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated…” The purpose of this article is to protect from unreasonable police activity. The provision must receive a liberal construction in its application to guarantee the people against unreasonable search and seizure. In resolving challenges asserting a Section 11 violation, courts must consider the circumstances presented in each case to determine whether the police behavior was reasonable. The burden is on the State to show that under the totality of the circumstances its intrusion was reasonable. Thus, we must determine whether Austin’s detention in order to conduct a dog sniff of his truck was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. The totality of the circumstances requires consideration of both the degree of intrusion into the subject’s ordinary activities and the basis on which the officer selected the subject of the search or seizure. Our determination of the reasonableness of a search or seizure under Section 11 often turns on a balance of: 1) the degree of concern, suspicion, or knowledge that a violation has occurred, 2) the degree of intrusion the method of the search or seizure imposes on the citizen’s ordinary activities, and 3) the extent of law enforcement needs. We cannot find error in the trial court’s determination the stop and search was reasonable. Trooper Dockery saw Austin commit 2 traffic violations. He knew about the irregularities in Austin’s paperwork Trooper White had noted, and he noted some additional irregularities. The traffic stop was not unduly prolonged before the officers established probable cause to seek a warrant; the police dog that indicated the presence of drugs was with Trooper Dockery at the time of the stop. We cannot find Austin’s second stop unreasonable.
Austin v. State, 980 N.E.2d 429 (Ind.App. 2012).