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COA: Driving to avoid potholes isn’t enough to stop car

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the suppression of evidence in a man’s drunken-driving case, finding police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the man over because he was driving left of center on a county road to avoid poor road conditions.

In State of Indiana v. Darrell Keck, 67A01-1208-CR-362, the state claimed based on I.C. 9-21-8-2(a) – “all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway” – police had reasonable suspicion to pull over Darrell Keck on a county road in Putnam County after seeing him drive slower than usual and left of center.

Portions of the road are covered in gravel and the officer recalled at least two potholes in the road. The officer stopped Keck after seeing him drive for about a half mile in the center portion of the road. The stop led to charges of Class C misdemeanors operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more. Keck filed a motion to suppress, claiming the road conditions were so bad he could not drive safely on the right side of the road. His passenger testified as to the terrible condition of the road.

On appeal, Keck claimed that I.C. 9-21-8-2(b) applies, which allows for someone to drive “as close to practicable on the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” when a person is driving at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing.

“There was evidence before the trial court to support a conclusion subsection (b) applies and Keck was not in violation,” Judge Melissa May wrote, pointing to the officer’s testimony and the testimony of the passenger.
 

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  • Good Job
    Congratulations to Judge Melissa May for getting it right. I live in Marshall County and I always drive in the middle of most county roads,because most county roads are bad. I move to the right when I see uncoming traffic and when I approach a blind hill.

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  1. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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