“P1 Following a May 2017 hit and run in Indianapolis that left a pedestrian dead, Dennis Payne Jr. was convicted of Level 5 felony failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death and Level 6 felony obstruction of justice. Payne now appeals, arguing that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they seized his Toyota 4Runner—which matched the description of the SUV involved in the hit and run, had front-end damage consistent with a pedestrian strike, and was parked on a public street—without a warrant. Because Payne concedes that the police had probable cause to believe that his 4Runner was involved in the hit and run and the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applies to cars parked on property that is open to the public, we find no Fourth Amendment violation.” Defendant knew that the police were looking for him, and time was becoming of the essence. Likewise, no state constitutional violation either. Payne v. State, 2019 Ind. App. LEXIS 530 (Dec. 5, 2019):
P26 Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution provides in relevant part, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search and seizure, shall not be violated.” Although this language largely tracks that of the Fourth Amendment, we interpret and apply it independently. Mitchell v. State, 745 N.E.2d 775, 786 (Ind. 2001). The reasonableness of a search or seizure under the Indiana Constitution “turns on an evaluation of the reasonableness of the police conduct under the totality of the circumstances.” Litchfield v. State, 824 N.E.2d 356, 359 (Ind. 2005). Those circumstances may include 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. Id. at 361.
P27 Here, the police had a significant degree of concern, suspicion, or knowledge that Payne’s 4Runner was involved in the hit and run that left a pedestrian dead. That is, Detective Rhoda had a description of the SUV involved in the hit and run from witnesses, she watched surveillance video and identified the target vehicle as a 2000 to 2002 silver Toyota 4Runner, and Payne’s 4Runner had damage to the front hood, grill, headlight, and bumper that was consistent with a pedestrian strike. As for the degree of intrusion, after the police called Payne and he did not come to 106 South Church Street, the police had his 4Runner towed to IMPD’s tow lot in Indianapolis. The following morning, the police obtained a search warrant. While Payne was deprived of possession of his 4Runner before the search warrant was obtained, it was less than twenty-four hours. Finally, the extent of law-enforcement needs was high. That is, the police were investigating a hit and run that left a pedestrian dead. The police conducted a thorough investigation that led them to Payne’s 4Runner. When the police found Payne’s 4Runner parked on a public street, it had front-end damage that was consistent with a pedestrian strike. The police then called Payne to have him come to the scene, but Payne never showed up. At this point, it was reasonable for the police to believe that Payne would move or hide his 4Runner (as he had previously done with his 4Runner at the church in Haughville). The police then had the 4Runner towed to Indianapolis, applied for a search warrant the following morning, and only searched it after obtaining the warrant. Cf. Brown, 653 N.E.2d at 80 (concluding that the police violated Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution when they searched the defendant’s car without a warrant). Under the totality of the circumstances, the conduct of the police in seizing Payne’s 4Runner until a search warrant was obtained was not unreasonable.