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Checkpoint doesn't violate separation of powers

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The use of sobriety checkpoints does not violate the separation of powers provision in the state’s constitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

Philip Cleer, who was convicted of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08 and 0.15, argued the checkpoints violate the Indiana Constitution’s separation of powers provision because conducting checkpoints isn’t specifically authorized by the Indiana General Assembly. Cleer was directed by Indiana State Police to pull into a checkpoint in Indianapolis, where he failed three field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol content of 0.08.

Cleer claims the General Assembly only authorized the detention of a person when a “law enforcement officer believes in good faith that a person has committed an infraction or ordinance violation. …”  Because he didn’t commit any infraction or ordinance violation when he was directed into the checkpoint, Cleer argues the police were without a legislative basis to detain him. But the appellate court rejected his argument in Philip Cleer v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0912-CR-1193.

“To the extent Indiana Code Section 34-28-5-3 is considered the legislative authorization to detain a person suspected of committing an infraction or ordinance violation, there is no indication that the General Assembly has denied law enforcement the ability to detain a person suspected of committing a misdemeanor or a felony,” wrote Judge Michael Barnes. “Further, Cleer cites no authority for the proposition that the General Assembly is required to specifically authorize detention in all criminal investigations.”

Without more evidence, Cleer failed to show that the checkpoint violated the separations of powers provision of the state’s constitution, the judges unanimously concluded.
 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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