COA affirms warrantless entry

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court decision to deny a defendant's motion to suppress his arrest and charges, ruling the defendant's behavior justified the police officers to enter his home without a warrant.

In William McDermott v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0609-CR-755, McDermott brought an interlocutory appeal of the trial court order denying his motion to suppress his arrest and charges stemming from that. McDermott argued the police officers who entered his home were not justified and did so without a warrant.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Wood was flagged down by a passing motorist in Beech Grove and told there was a man sitting in the roadway and interfering with traffic just south of where the officer was located. Wood approached the man, McDermott, and asked to speak with him.

McDermott cursed the officer, ran between two houses, and stood in the grass. Still refusing to talk to Wood, McDermott then walked off, ignoring Wood's questions, and entered a home without using a key. Wood, unsure if McDermott lived there or was intruding, called for back up, and continued to try to speak to McDermott. He asked for identification from McDermott to prove he lived at the home. When backup arrived, Wood and Deputy Eric Snow entered the home and Wood used a taser on McDermott, who was uncooperative and showed signs of aggression. The officers later determined McDermott lived at the home.

McDermott was charged with resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. At trial, McDermott orally moved to suppress his arrest and all charges stemming from it. After hearing Wood's testimony, the court denied McDermott's motion.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the arrest and conviction, ruling neither state nor federal constitutional violations were committed. The sheriff's deputies did not violate Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution when they entered his home without a warrant because Deputy Wood had met all the requirements under Holder v. State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 935 (Ind. 2006), to determine the reasonableness of police conduct under all of the circumstances. The court considers the degree of suspicion, concern, or knowledge a person violated the law; the degree of intrusiveness that the search or arrest method imposes on the person; and the extent of law enforcement needs.

McDermott's behavior was suspicious and Wood called for backup because of concern when McDermott entered the home without proving he lived there. All of the facts show the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying McDermott's motion to suppress based on violations of Article 1, Section 11.

Under the facts of the case, the court found the state met its burden of demonstrating probable cause and exigent circumstances to allow the officers to enter the home without a warrant. The appellate court also affirmed the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying McDermott's motion to suppress citing violations of his Fourth Amendment rights.

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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.