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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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