COA splits over whether pat down after traffic stop was justified

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A majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court abused its discretion when it denied a man’s motion to suppress drug evidence found on him after police pulled him over for failing to signal a turn. But the dissenting judge believed the arresting officer had sufficient reason to think the defendant might be armed and dangerous during their encounter.

Terre Haute Police Officer Adam Loudermilk pulled over Robert L. Dixon’s vehicle after Dixon turned without signaling. Dixon pulled into a residential neighborhood, parked his car, got out of the car and began to walk away. Loudermilk ordered Dixon back to his car after threatening to use his Taser. After checking Dixon’s license and registration, Loudermilk recognized his name as a possible drug dealer. Loudermilk called for backup and decided to perform a pat-down search of Dixon. The search yielded three baggies of cocaine.

Dixon sought to suppress the drug evidence found on him, claiming the search violated the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied his motion.

Judge Patricia Riley and Margret Robb reversed, pointing out that Loudermilk did not have any reason to believe Dixon was engaged in criminal activity at the time he pulled him over, he saw no weapon on Dixon when he was out of the car, and there were no open warrants or issues with Dixon’s identification. A Terry stop does not allow for a generalized cursory search for weapons, or any search for anything but weapons, Riley wrote.

Judge Cale Bradford dissented, pointing out that Loudermilk had credible information that Dixon might be a drug dealer. Dixon also appeared very nervous while sitting in the car, rocking back and forth and sticking his hands in his pockets. Bradford believed that the pat-down of Dixon was justified by concerns for officer safety.

The case, Robert L. Dixon v. State of Indiana, 84A01-1307-CR-339, is remanded for further proceedings.


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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.