ILNews

Justices to hear cheek swab, blood draw cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court is set to hear three arguments Thursday, including a case that challenges whether reasonable suspicion alone is sufficient for law enforcement to obtain DNA from a cheek swab.

Justices will hold arguments in Arturo Garcia-Torres v. State of Indiana, No. 64S03-0912-CR-550, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Arturo Garcia-Torres' convictions of rape and burglary and the denial of his motion to suppress DNA evidence from a cheek swab. The appellate court held taking the cheek swab required reasonable suspicion and isn't subject to the advice-of-counsel requirements in Pirtle v. State, 263 Ind. 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975).

Judge Terry Crone dissented because he believed 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. Arguments begin at 9:45 a.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom.

At 10:30 a.m., the high court will hear Roger Brown v. State of Indiana, No. 12S02-0912-CR-560, in which the Court of Appeals ruled the results of Roger Brown's blood-alcohol test shouldn't have been admitted because it was performed by a certified lab technician. The appellate judges held certified lab techs aren't "certified phlebotomists" or otherwise someone trained in getting bodily substance samples under Indiana Code Section 9-30-6-6(j). Roger Brown challenged the admittance of two tests used to prove his intoxication and support his convictions of drunk driving. The appellate court upheld his convictions anyway because it believed the state was able to prove he was intoxicated and his driving caused the victims' injuries.

The justices will also hear Sheehan Construction Co. Inc. v. Continental Casualty Co., No. 49A02-0805-CV-420, at 9 a.m. That case involves a dispute over what, if any, coverage was provided by commercial general liability insurance policies after allegedly faulty workmanship was done by Sheehan's subcontractor. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the insurers and insurance broker.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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