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Judge: arresting authority gone without oath

January 1, 2007
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office and Indiana Attorney General's Office plan to appeal a judge's ruling Tuesday that held Indianapolis officers don't have arresting authority because they didn't retain their sworn status following a police merger at the start of the year.

Marion Superior Judge Rueben Hill decided that the January drunk driving arrest of Cheryl Oddi-Smith was illegal because the arresting officer was not sworn in after the Jan. 1 merger between the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police Department. Only top officials and a few officers took the oath following the merger, according to arguments from defense attorneys James Voyles and Annie Fierek, and therefore the arresting officer lacked proper status and couldn't arrest the woman.

Judge Hill of Criminal Court 18 - himself a former Indiana State Police trooper - noted the main legal issue is whether this merger created an entirely new police agency, and if so then all officers would need to be sworn in again.

Spokesman Matt Symons at the prosecutor's office said the request for state help was made Tuesday following Judge Hill's ruling.
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