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Appellate court rules traffic stop legal

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A police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the car of a man who parked illegally in a handicapped spot after the car made it on to the street, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Dustin Haynes appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence. He was convicted of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life after Gas City Chief of Police Kirk McCollum saw Haynes’ car parked in a handicapped spot without a proper permit. McCollum was patrolling a parking lot and drove by the car, which didn’t have a handicap license plate. He also didn’t see a permit hanging from the rearview mirror.

When he drove by again to verify there wasn’t a permit lying on the dashboard or another visible area, Haynes backed out of the spot and left the parking lot. The officer followed and pulled him over on the street. Haynes admitted to not having the proper handicap placard and being a habitual traffic violator with his driving privileges currently suspended.

Haynes claimed McCollum had no reasonable suspicion to stop him because he didn’t commit any traffic violations. The officer had a chance to give him a parking ticket while Haynes was in the lot, but didn’t, so he had no reasonable grounds to stop him later.

“We find that Officer McCollum had sufficient basis to detain Haynes pursuant to I.C. § 34-28-5-3, which allows a law enforcement officer to detain an individual believed to have committed an infraction. I.C. § 34-28-5-3 further permits a law enforcement officer to ascertain the individual’s identity,” wrote Judge Patricia Riley in Dustin Haynes v. State of Indiana, No. 27A02-1003-CR-311. “Because Officer McCollum had probable cause to believe Haynes had committed an infraction, his detention of Haynes was reasonable and did not violate either the state or federal constitutions.”

Haynes cited State v. Medlar, 638 N.E.2d 1105, 1105-06 (Ohio Ct. App. 1994), and State v. Holmes, 569 N.W.2d 181 (Minn. 1997), to support his argument, but the judges ruled under the analysis in Holmes, McCullom had probable cause to stop Haynes’ car. McCullom personally saw Haynes commit the violation, and under Holmes, he was allowed to stop Haynes to enforce the violation because Haynes was driving off before he could issue the ticket.

Although the facts of Holmes are distinguishable, the analysis of law is applicable, wrote Judge Riley. As such, McCollum had reasonable suspicion to stop Haynes and therefore the stop was legal.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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