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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. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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