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Circuit Court affirms admission of drugs, sentence

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his past conviction of vehicular flight isn’t a crime of violence, citing a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court on that matter.

In United State of America v. Jadrion Griffin, No. 10-2028, Jadrion Griffin appealed the denial of his motion to suppress a bag of crack-cocaine found in a parking lot after his low-speed chase with police. Griffin claimed he was illegally seized when he threw the drugs in the snow, so the drugs should have been suppressed. He also challenged his 360-month sentence for drug convictions and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, claiming he shouldn’t have been sentenced as a career offender because his prior conviction of vehicular flight under Indiana law isn’t a crime of violence. He also claimed he should be re-sentenced using the new crack-to-power ratio prescribed by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.

The judges had to decide when the seizure of Griffin occurred – when the police initially began following Griffin and activated their lights indicating they wanted him to pull over or when Griffin actually pulled over. Griffin argued that the seizing was a continuous act initiated upon the show of authority by police, but the 7th Circuit rejected his argument, citing California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621, 629 (1991). A seizure by show of authority doesn’t occur unless and until the suspect submits, wrote Judge Diane Sykes.

His argument that he was improperly sentenced because the District Court improperly classified him as a career offender under the sentencing guidelines was quickly dismissed by the federal appellate court. Griffin claimed vehicular flight doesn’t qualify as a crime of violence under the guidelines, but Sykes v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2267 (2011), says otherwise. The Indiana case dealing with this issue was pending before U.S. Supreme Court when Griffin was argued, so the judges held the instant case.

SCOTUS agreed with the 7th Circuit in Sykes that a conviction for vehicular flight under Indiana law is a crime of violence, leaving Griffin without a leg to stand on, wrote Judge Sykes.

The Circuit Court also rejected his argument that he should be re-sentenced under the FSA because it should be applied retroactively. The relevant date for determining retroactivity is the date of the underlying criminal conduct, and because the FSA was signed into law long after Griffin’s underlying conduct, it has no bearing on his sentence, the court ruled.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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