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Information used to obtain search warrant splits Court of Appeals

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Although the statements from three individuals were hearsay and initially led law enforcement to enter the wrong apartment, a split Indiana Court of Appeals found, collectively, the information supported probable cause.

Brian Bradley was convicted of Class D felony dealing in marijuana after Ripley County law enforcement, based on tips from informants, entered his apartment and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Officers learned Bradley was selling marijuana from a woman they arrested for possession of marijuana. The woman told officers she purchased the marijuana from a man nicknamed Shrek but, according to friends, was actually named Brian. She said he lived on the second floor of an antiques store in Batesville.

At 1:24 a.m., police entered the second-floor residence but found the apartment belonged to a couple. Separately, the couple told officers they had also purchased marijuana from Shrek, also known as Brian, who lived on the third floor.

A few hours later, police were able to obtain another warrant and searched Bradley’s apartment.  

At a hearing on Bradley’s motion to suppress evidence, the woman changed her testimony, saying she never directly bought marijuana from Brian, but rather her friends did so for her.

Later in the trial, the man who lived in the second-floor apartment backtracked from his original statements to police, saying he never purchased drugs directly from Bradley.   

However, the Court of Appeals found the warrants were legal because they were based on what police knew at the time and not on the statements the informants gave in court. That information, the COA ruled, was enough to support Bradley’s conviction for Class D felony dealing in marijuana.  

 “We find that (Ripley County Sheriff’s Department) Detective (Abraham) Hildebrand’s probable-cause affidavit contains information that establishes that the totality of the circumstances corroborates the hearsay,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the majority in Brian Bradley v. State of Indiana, 69A04-1306-CR-268. “…Here, there are bits and pieces of evidence tending to show probable cause that marijuana would be found in Brian’s third-floor apartment. Although each declarant, standing alone, may not have conclusively established probable cause, the evidence in the affidavit, when fitted together and viewed collectively, is sufficient to support the trial court’s finding of probable cause.”

Judge Patricia Riley dissented finding probable cause did not exist for the probable cause affidavit. The only details corroborated by all three informants are the name and nickname of the individual from whom marijuana was purchased. Also, the police did not substantiate the information and material facts are missing from the affidavit.  

“In cases like this – where the officers ultimately found marijuana, but only did so by disregarding the mandates of probable cause – our justice system pays the price,” Riley wrote. “The ‘privacy of all Hoosiers’ is put in jeopardy when constitutional protections are circumvented in order to secure evidence.”

 
 

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  1. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  2. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  3. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  4. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

  5. What form or who do I talk to about a d felony which I hear is classified as a 6 now? Who do I talk to. About to get my degree and I need this to go away it's been over 7 years if that helps.

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