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COA: Collateral estoppel not applicable

October 2, 2008

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress evidence because the defendant couldn't prove collateral estoppel precluded the trial court from denying his motion.

In Joshua Perez-Grahovac v. State of Indiana, No. 22A05-0712-CR-703, Joshua Perez-Grahovac brought an interlocutory appeal, arguing because his roommate's motion to suppress evidence was granted, his motion should be granted, too.

Perez-Grahovac and his roommate, Angela Phillips, were arrested for various drug charges after police obtained a search warrant after a period of surveillance of their apartment, a trash pull of their residence, and Perez-Grahovac's previous statements to police that he was a cocaine dealer.

Perez-Grahovac filed his motion to suppress evidence because he believed the search violated the United States and Indiana Constitutions and the probable cause affidavit didn't contain sufficient facts. His motion was denied.

Phillips also filed a motion to suppress evidence, which the trial court granted without conducting further hearings on the motion. The only evidence Perez-Grahovac introduced to support his motion to reconsider was Phillips' motion to suppress and the chronological case summary stating the court granted the motion.

Perez-Grahovac argues his motion should be granted based on Jennings v. State, 714 N.E.2d 730 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), but his case is distinguishable from Jennings. The state hadn't stipulated it had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the searches in Phillips' case or that the searches in the roommates' cases are the same. The trial court's grant of Phillips' motion doesn't include findings of fact or conclusions of law, so the appellate court can't determine whether the judge who granted Phillips's motion based her decision "upon an issue or fact other than that which the defendant seeks to foreclose from consideration," wrote Judge Carr Darden, citing Jennings.

Perez-Grahovac didn't present a sufficient record to permit the appellate court to determine whether collateral estoppel should apply.

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