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COA affirms denial of motion to suppress

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The actions of police officers who showed up on a man’s property to investigate a complaint – which led to the discovery of marijuana plants – were reasonable, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

John Dora, who owned property in Brown County, argued the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to suppress evidence. Dora held a party for Michael Shearer’s birthday at his property and invited friends over. Shearer lived in the house on Dora’s property and Dora lived in an RV while he was in town. During the party, Holly Parker arrived intoxicated and tried to find Dora, who hid from her in the barn. Parker yelled while kicking and beating the RV. Her cell phone accidentally dialed her daughter’s phone, and her daughter believed her mother was in trouble. Police were called to the scene, but Parker was gone when police arrived.

Shearer and Dora told the officers about the damage Parker caused while there, and the officers, while looking around the RV, discovered marijuana plants growing in a flower bed next to the RV on the driver’s side. Dora was charged with possession of marijuana.

On interlocutory appeal, the COA upheld the denial of Dora’s motion to suppress evidence of the marijuana found in the flower beds. They found the warrantless searches did not violate his rights under the Fourth Amendment or under Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

“Dora knowingly exposed the trailer to the Officers and therefore cannot persuasively argue that he had a privacy interest on the driver’s side of the RV. Had Dora simply told the Officers that Parker was not on the property and refrained from describing the damage to the RV and the trailer, the Officers would have arguably fulfilled the purpose of their visit, and been required to depart Dora’s property,” wrote Judge Patricia Riley in John V. Dora v. State of Indiana, No. 07A01-1102-CR-51.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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