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Appellate court upholds motion to suppress after traffic stop

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge that a police officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver believed to be intoxicated.

In State of Indiana v. Robert Rhodes, No. 49A05-1012-CR-818, the state challenged the grant of Robert Rhodes' motion to suppress following his arrest on an operating while intoxicated charge. Rhodes drove a friend to an impound lot to recover his car. While there, the company employee believed Rhodes was intoxicated and called police officer Larry Giordano, who often worked off-duty for Angie’s List, which was across the street from the impound lot.

Giordano testified he saw Rhodes leave and followed him. Rhodes didn’t signal properly and made an abrupt left into the parking lot of Angie’s List, so Giordano conducted the traffic stop. Rhodes contended that Giordano turned on his emergency lights as soon as he began following Rhodes, so he signaled to turn into the lot to stop.

Although the trial judge wavered between two grounds for rejecting the state’s arguments as to the legitimacy of the traffic violation, he ultimately granted Rhodes’ motion to dismiss.

The state argued that the officer had two reasons to lawfully stop Rhodes – Giordano saw Rhodes commit a traffic violation by not signaling more than 200 feet before turning, and that the officer had reasonable suspicion that Rhodes was operating while intoxicated.

But the state failed to show that compliance with the statute was possible under the circumstances, wrote Judge Terry Crone. Giordano estimated that Rhodes turned on his signal about 150 feet before turning, but the record doesn’t say whether there was at least 200 feet between the place where he turned on to the street from the impound lot and the place where he turned onto the Angie’s List property.

On the reasonable suspicion argument, the record is vague as to what the tow employee told Giordano regarding Rhodes or his vehicle. One other person also left the lot at the same time as Rhodes. Even if the employee’s tip was sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion that someone was driving while intoxicated, there isn’t evidence that Giordano had any basis to conclude that person was Rhodes, wrote Judge Crone.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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