ILNews

Judges order possession charge dismissed

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Relying on United States Supreme Court precedent, the Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the denial of a man’s motion to suppress marijuana found on him after a traffic stop. The appellate court found the officers did not reasonably believe the man was armed and dangerous to justify the pat down.

In Charles Westmoreland v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-1107-CR-356, Charles Westmoreland was the passenger in a car lawfully stopped by police. The driver had warrants out in two counties, so police placed her in custody and decided to tow the car. Westmoreland didn’t have any outstanding warrants and cooperated with police. One officer performed a pat down on Westmoreland, saw a piece of a baggie sticking out of his pants, and discovered a plastic baggie with marijuana in it. Westmoreland was arrested and charged with Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

He moved to suppress the evidence, which was denied. On interlocutory appeal, the COA reversed, citing Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323 (2009). Johnson held that to justify a pat down of a driver or passenger during a traffic stop, “the police must harbor reasonable suspicion that the person subjected to the frisk is armed and dangerous.”

There was no evidence presented that Westmoreland was armed or dangerous, so officers shouldn’t have performed the pat down. The judges ordered the trial court to dismiss Westmoreland’s possession of marijuana charge.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

ADVERTISEMENT