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Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

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The state's highest court has agreed to hear a case dealing with Indiana's habitual offender statute and another case involving the requirements for a cheek-swab DNA test.

In Andre Syval Peoples v. State of Indiana, No. 79S02-0912-CR-549, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded a trial court was correct in interpreting the habitual offender statute to include Andre People's instant conviction of Class B felony dealing in cocaine as one of the "unrelated" convictions referred to in the statute. Peoples pleaded guilty to the dealing charge and had two prior felony convictions in Illinois - forgery and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Peoples argued the habitual offender enhancement can't be attached to his instant conviction under Indiana Code Section 35-50-2-8(b)(3) of the habitual offender statute because his instant conviction is a drug offense, satisfying subsection (b)(3)(A). Also, he argued his number of priors for dealing doesn't exceed one, which satisfies subsection (b)(3)(C)(i)-(v) of the statute.

The judges agreed with the state's argument that the statute isn't limited to only prior convictions but requires the summation of the total number of unrelated convictions a defendant has gotten for dealing drugs. The absence of the word "prior" from those two subsections reflects legislative intent to include the instant conviction as one of the "unrelated" convictions referred to in those subsections, the appellate court ruled.

In Arturo Garcia-Torres v. State of Indiana, No. 64S03-0912-CR-550, the Court of Appeals split in its ruling that taking a cheek swab for DNA testing requires only reasonable suspicion, not probable cause, under the federal and state constitutions. The majority determined police didn't need a warrant before obtaining the cheek swab for Arturo Garcia-Torres, who was later convicted of rape, burglary, and attempted rape in the attacks of two college students, because they had reasonable suspicion he committed them.

The majority also reasoned that getting the cheek swab involves much less impact on the subject than some other searches that may be conducted on mere reasonable suspicion.

Judge Terry Crone argued in his dissent that taking the swab from a custodial suspect requires probable cause under the Fourth Amendment and is subject to the advice-of-counsel requirements of Pirtle v. State, 263 Ind. 16, 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975).

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  1. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

  2. Finally, an official that realizes that reducing the risks involved in the indulgence in illicit drug use is a great way to INCREASE the problem. What's next for these idiot 'proponents' of needle exchange programs? Give drunk drivers booze? Give grossly obese people coupons for free junk food?

  3. That comment on this e-site, which reports on every building, courtroom or even insignificant social movement by beltway sycophants as being named to honor the yet-quite-alive former chief judge, is truly laughable!

  4. Is this a social parallel to the Mosby prosecutions in Baltimore? Progressive ideology ever seeks Pilgrims to burn at the stake. (I should know.)

  5. The Conour embarrassment is an example of why it would be a good idea to NOT name public buildings or to erect monuments to "worthy" people until AFTER they have been dead three years, at least. And we also need to stop naming federal buildings and roads after a worthless politician whose only achievement was getting elected multiple times (like a certain Congressman after whom we renamed the largest post office in the state). Also, why have we renamed BOTH the Center Township government center AND the new bus terminal/bum hangout after Julia Carson?

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