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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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