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COA affirms weapon charge after suspicious person call

December 31, 2015

A man convicted of Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the weapon was seized from him as he walked down a country road.

Nathan Polson was walking on a rural Morgan County road when a resident called police to report him as a suspicious person. The caller said Polson appeared to be “under the influence of something” and also appeared to have a “pretty sizeable weapon tucked up underneath his shirt.”

Morgan County Deputy Sgt. Brad Cooley responded to the call and described Polson as “nervous and kind of skittish,” but Polson told the deputy, “I haven’t done anything wrong.” The deputy believed based on Polson’s behavior that he appeared to be under the influence of something. Polson eventually complied with the deputy’s request to raise his shirt, revealing the gun.

According to the record, as Polson radioed for backup, Polson grabbed the butt of the gun, threw it in a ditch and told the deputy, “You’ll never pin that on me, Bubba.” Polson filed a motion to suppress the gun because it was obtained without warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The suppression was denied and a jury convicted Polson, who was sentenced to four years in the Department of Correction.

“Based on the totality of these circumstances, we conclude that Sergeant Cooley had reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity was afoot and that the investigatory search and seizure was permissible under the Fourth Amendment,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the court in Nathan Polson v. State of Indiana, 55A01-1504-CR-135. “We therefore conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the seized handgun into evidence, and we affirm” Polson’s conviction.  

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