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COA: Collateral estoppel not applicable

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress evidence because the defendant couldn't prove collateral estoppel precluded the trial court from denying his motion.

In Joshua Perez-Grahovac v. State of Indiana, No. 22A05-0712-CR-703, Joshua Perez-Grahovac brought an interlocutory appeal, arguing because his roommate's motion to suppress evidence was granted, his motion should be granted, too.

Perez-Grahovac and his roommate, Angela Phillips, were arrested for various drug charges after police obtained a search warrant after a period of surveillance of their apartment, a trash pull of their residence, and Perez-Grahovac's previous statements to police that he was a cocaine dealer.

Perez-Grahovac filed his motion to suppress evidence because he believed the search violated the United States and Indiana Constitutions and the probable cause affidavit didn't contain sufficient facts. His motion was denied.

Phillips also filed a motion to suppress evidence, which the trial court granted without conducting further hearings on the motion. The only evidence Perez-Grahovac introduced to support his motion to reconsider was Phillips' motion to suppress and the chronological case summary stating the court granted the motion.

Perez-Grahovac argues his motion should be granted based on Jennings v. State, 714 N.E.2d 730 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), but his case is distinguishable from Jennings. The state hadn't stipulated it had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the searches in Phillips' case or that the searches in the roommates' cases are the same. The trial court's grant of Phillips' motion doesn't include findings of fact or conclusions of law, so the appellate court can't determine whether the judge who granted Phillips's motion based her decision "upon an issue or fact other than that which the defendant seeks to foreclose from consideration," wrote Judge Carr Darden, citing Jennings.

Perez-Grahovac didn't present a sufficient record to permit the appellate court to determine whether collateral estoppel should apply.

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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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