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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. Uh oh, someone is really going to get their panti ... uh, um ... I mean get upset now: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/31/arkansas-passes-indiana-style-religious-freedom-bill

  2. Bryan, stop insulting the Swedes by comparing them to the American oligarchs. Otherwise your point is well taken.

  3. Sociologist of religion Peter Berger once said that the US is a “nation of Indians ruled by Swedes.” He meant an irreligious elite ruling a religious people, as that Sweden is the world’s least religious country and India the most religious. The idea is that American social elites tend to be much less religious than just about everyone else in the country. If this is true, it helps explain the controversy raking Indiana over Hollywood, San Fran, NYC, academia and downtown Indy hot coals. Nevermind logic, nevermind it is just the 1993 fed bill did, forget the Founders, abandon of historic dedication to religious liberty. The Swedes rule. You cannot argue with elitists. They have the power, they will use the power, sit down and shut up or feel the power. I know firsthand, having been dealt blows from the elite's high and mighty hands often as a mere religious plebe.

  4. I need helping gaining custody of my 5 and 1 year old from my alcoholic girlfriend. This should be an easy case for any lawyer to win... I've just never had the courage to take her that far. She has a record of public intox and other things. She has no job and no where to live othe than with me. But after 5 years of trying to help her with her bad habit, she has put our kids in danger by driving after drinking with them... She got detained yesterday and the police chief released my kids to me from the police station. I live paycheck to paycheck and Im under alot of stress dealing with this situation. Can anyone please help?

  5. The more a state tries to force people to associate, who don't like each other and simply want to lead separate lives, the more that state invalidates itself....... This conflict has shown clearly that the advocates of "tolerance" are themselves intolerant, the advocates of "diversity" intend to inflict themselves on an unwilling majority by force if necessary, until that people complies and relents and allows itself to be made homogenous with the politically correct preferences of the diversity-lobbies. Let's clearly understand, this is force versus force and democracy has nothing to do with this. Democracy is a false god in the first place, even if it is a valid ideal for politics, but it is becoming ever more just an empty slogan that just suckers a bunch of cattle into paying their taxes and volunteering for stupid wars.

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