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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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