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Man’s statement on drug allowed at trial

March 15, 2013

The Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday that a trial court did not commit fundamental error in admitting Charles Meriwether’s statement to police that he had marijuana in his car.

In Charles Meriwether v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1208-CR-676, Meriwether, who was convicted of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana and Class D felony possession of paraphernalia, argued his answer to a police question about the contents of his car should not have been admitted as evidence. Police pulled into a Marion County parking lot to investigate drug-related activity and found Meriwether’s car parked. Meriwether voluntarily exited his car and placed his hands on it. The officer smelled burnt marijuana and asked if there was anything in the car he needed to know about. Meriwether replied “marijuana.”

The drug and a pipe were found in his car, which he also claimed were admitted in error.

Meriwether didn’t object at his trial to the admission of the statement, so he waived his argument that it shouldn’t have been admitted. The Court of Appeals held the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion when it admitted Meriwether’s statement because he wasn’t in custody for purposes of Miranda when the officer asked him about possible items of concern in his vehicle.

 

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