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COA: Officer's observation didn't violate man's rights

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s various drug convictions and sentence, finding the police officer didn’t violate the man’s Fourth Amendment rights by looking in the defendant’s car when trying to serve a warrant.

In Jeffrey D. Boggs v. State of Indiana, No. 40A01-0907-CR-346, Jeffrey Boggs argued the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence obtained from a search warrant that was based on information discovered during a warrantless and unconstitutional search of his car on his property. Police went to Boggs’ home to see if he was home to pick up his minor daughter who was in the car of a woman who was arrested on an outstanding warrant. While on the way to Boggs’ home, police discovered he was wanted on a warrant in Ohio.

Boggs wasn’t home and as the officer was leaving Boggs’ property, he shined a flashlight into a car he knew belonged to Boggs. Inside he saw an altered propane tank sticking out of a duffle bag. Police then got a search warrant for the property and found various items and drugs used to make methamphetamine.

Boggs moved to suppress the evidence, which was denied. On appeal, he argued the evidence shouldn’t have been admitted because the officer’s observation of the tank in the car was an unconstitutional search of the car parked in his driveway.

Boggs’ Fourth Amendment rights weren’t violated, the appellate court ruled, because the officer had a legitimate reason for being on Boggs’ property, he didn’t move or manipulate anything in order to see the tank, and he never left the normal routes of ingress or egress. Caselaw also says that the use of a flashlight doesn’t transform an officer’s observations into a search.

The Court of Appeals also ruled the state proved the identity of certain substances admitted into evidence, including pseudoephedrine and anhydrous ammonia, and proved that Boggs’ is a habitual offender.

The appellate court affirmed his 40-year aggregate sentence, but did remand the case to the trial court to correct the sentencing order to reflect that Boggs was sentenced to 15 years for his Class B felony conviction of attempted dealing in methamphetamine, enhanced by 25 years for the habitual offender finding.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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