COA: Consent prevented constitutional violations

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of two defendants' motion to suppress evidence even though it wasn't reasonable under the Indiana Constitution because one of the men gave his consent to search the bag which held drugs.

In Canon Harper and Adrian Porch v. State of Indiana, No. 10A01-0908-CR-417, Canon Harper and Adrian Porch brought an interlocutory appeal of the denial of their motion to suppress drug and paraphernalia evidence seized during a traffic stop

Police noticed the license plate light was out on Harper's car and went to pull the car over. Before doing so, Harper and Porch pulled into a motel, Porch got out of the car with a bag and headed toward a room. The police pulled up behind Harper's car without activating their lights and asked Porch to come back. They explained that Harper's license plate light was out and then asked Porch if they could pat him down and search the bag. Porch claimed the bag belonged to an ex-girlfriend of Harper and consented to the pat down and search of the bag, which had cocaine and paraphernalia in it.

The appellate court found the stop and search didn't violate the Fourth Amendment after applying Tawdul v. State, 720 N.E.2d 1211, 1217 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999). It wasn't unreasonable for the officers to briefly detain Porch after they legally stopped Harper's car until the officers could make an assessment of the situation. Porch's detention was justified because it wasn't unreasonably long or intrusive, wrote Judge Patricia Riley.

Harper and Porch claimed that the traffic stop had been completed after they confirmed the license plate light was out and there was no need for the pat-down search and search of the bag.

"Nevertheless, because Porch consented to the search of his person and to the search of the duffle bag, insofar as they complain that the search was unreasonable, they cannot prevail, as it is well established that consent is a valid exception to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment," she wrote.

Porch's consent also justified the search under Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. Even though based on the totality of the circumstances, the state failed to show the pat down and search was reasonable but Porch verbally assented to the pat down and search of the bag. An exception to the search-warrant requirement happens when consent is given to the search, under the theory that when someone gives permission to a search of either his person or property, any governmental intrusion is presumed to be reasonable.

The appellate court also declined to extend the language of the Seatbelt Enforcement Act to the part of Indiana Code that requires the illumination of license plates in light of State v. Washington, 898 N.E.2d 1200, 1207 (Ind. 2008).


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.