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Canine sniff case gets second look, same ruling

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On a rehearing petition from the state, the Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed today its holding in reversing a conviction based on a traffic stop involving a canine sniff.

In Derrick Bush v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0907-CR-682, the state sought rehearing of the court’s April 27, 2010, ruling in which the court opined the state did not meet its burden of showing a traffic stop was not unreasonably prolonged or that there was an independent reasonable suspicion to justify the canine sniff. Derrick Bush was convicted of carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor. The state argued that Bush did not argue to the trial court that his detention was unreasonably prolonged and that his appellant’s brief did not address the duration of his detention or the legality of the canine sniff.

The appellate court granted rehearing to clarify procedural history and to address the state’s claim of waiver. Judge Margret Robb wrote that Bush repeatedly objected during the bench trial to the admission of evidence of the handgun and in his objections, he referred not only to the lack of reasonable suspicion but also to his detention. That, the court wrote, raised the issue of whether the detention was unreasonably prolonged, and the objection was sufficient to preserve the Fourth Amendment issue for appeal, including “the dual aspects of the duration of Bush’s detention and whether there was reasonable suspicion to expand the traffic stop by conducting a canine sniff. See Chest v. State, 922 N.E.2d 621, 624 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009).”

On appeal, Bush had argued the warrantless vehicle search violated the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 11. Bush’s brief noted that based on Arizona v. Gant, 129 S. Ct. 1710 (2009), the exception for an automobile search incident to a recent occupant’s arrest was inapplicable to the present case. The state’s brief did not discuss Gant but said the applicable exception was probable cause as supplied by the positive alert of the drug-detecting dog, citing Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405 (2005). Bush responded to this during arguments, noting the canine sniff of his vehicle occurred after the purpose of the traffic stop was complete and therefore was not reasonable under Caballes and all Indiana cases applying Caballes.

The State in its petition for rehearing points out that the appellate court cannot reverse on issues raised sua sponte unless the grounds for reversal constitute fundamental error. However, Judge Robb wrote, “… we do not regard the reasonableness of Bush’s detention and the canine sniff of his automobile as an issue raised sua sponte. The State, by not responding in its brief to Bush’s contentions regarding Gant and instead focusing its Fourth Amendment argument on the canine sniff as the basis for the warrantless search, impliedly consented to litigating this case on the grounds addressed in our original opinion. It is too late for the State to switch course and insist the warrantless search issue is properly framed only in terms of whether the search was valid under Gant. See State v. Jones, 835 N.E.2d 1002, 1004 (Ind. 2005).”

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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