ILNews

COA affirms warrantless entry

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court decision to deny a defendant's motion to suppress his arrest and charges, ruling the defendant's behavior justified the police officers to enter his home without a warrant.

In William McDermott v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0609-CR-755, McDermott brought an interlocutory appeal of the trial court order denying his motion to suppress his arrest and charges stemming from that. McDermott argued the police officers who entered his home were not justified and did so without a warrant.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Wood was flagged down by a passing motorist in Beech Grove and told there was a man sitting in the roadway and interfering with traffic just south of where the officer was located. Wood approached the man, McDermott, and asked to speak with him.

McDermott cursed the officer, ran between two houses, and stood in the grass. Still refusing to talk to Wood, McDermott then walked off, ignoring Wood's questions, and entered a home without using a key. Wood, unsure if McDermott lived there or was intruding, called for back up, and continued to try to speak to McDermott. He asked for identification from McDermott to prove he lived at the home. When backup arrived, Wood and Deputy Eric Snow entered the home and Wood used a taser on McDermott, who was uncooperative and showed signs of aggression. The officers later determined McDermott lived at the home.

McDermott was charged with resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. At trial, McDermott orally moved to suppress his arrest and all charges stemming from it. After hearing Wood's testimony, the court denied McDermott's motion.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the arrest and conviction, ruling neither state nor federal constitutional violations were committed. The sheriff's deputies did not violate Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution when they entered his home without a warrant because Deputy Wood had met all the requirements under Holder v. State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 935 (Ind. 2006), to determine the reasonableness of police conduct under all of the circumstances. The court considers the degree of suspicion, concern, or knowledge a person violated the law; the degree of intrusiveness that the search or arrest method imposes on the person; and the extent of law enforcement needs.

McDermott's behavior was suspicious and Wood called for backup because of concern when McDermott entered the home without proving he lived there. All of the facts show the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying McDermott's motion to suppress based on violations of Article 1, Section 11.

Under the facts of the case, the court found the state met its burden of demonstrating probable cause and exigent circumstances to allow the officers to enter the home without a warrant. The appellate court also affirmed the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying McDermott's motion to suppress citing violations of his Fourth Amendment rights.
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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