ILNews

Checkpoint doesn't violate separation of powers

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

ADVERTISEMENT