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COA affirms denial of motion to suppress

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The actions of police officers who showed up on a man’s property to investigate a complaint – which led to the discovery of marijuana plants – were reasonable, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

John Dora, who owned property in Brown County, argued the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to suppress evidence. Dora held a party for Michael Shearer’s birthday at his property and invited friends over. Shearer lived in the house on Dora’s property and Dora lived in an RV while he was in town. During the party, Holly Parker arrived intoxicated and tried to find Dora, who hid from her in the barn. Parker yelled while kicking and beating the RV. Her cell phone accidentally dialed her daughter’s phone, and her daughter believed her mother was in trouble. Police were called to the scene, but Parker was gone when police arrived.

Shearer and Dora told the officers about the damage Parker caused while there, and the officers, while looking around the RV, discovered marijuana plants growing in a flower bed next to the RV on the driver’s side. Dora was charged with possession of marijuana.

On interlocutory appeal, the COA upheld the denial of Dora’s motion to suppress evidence of the marijuana found in the flower beds. They found the warrantless searches did not violate his rights under the Fourth Amendment or under Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

“Dora knowingly exposed the trailer to the Officers and therefore cannot persuasively argue that he had a privacy interest on the driver’s side of the RV. Had Dora simply told the Officers that Parker was not on the property and refrained from describing the damage to the RV and the trailer, the Officers would have arguably fulfilled the purpose of their visit, and been required to depart Dora’s property,” wrote Judge Patricia Riley in John V. Dora v. State of Indiana, No. 07A01-1102-CR-51.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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