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COA orders trial on drug charges

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On interlocutory appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s denial of an Elkhart County man’s motion to suppress evidence police seized from him and his residence while investigating possible drug dealing.

Police believed Ignacio Perez may have been involved in supplying cocaine to a man who sold the drug to an undercover officer. Three cars involved in the drug buys were seen at Perez’s property, including one registered in his name. Police went to Perez’s home to speak with him, and Perez freely stepped outside and closed his front door. He seemed nervous and became agitated when his wife opened the door. He yelled at her in Spanish and bumped into an officer trying to get to the front door, which led to police putting Perez in handcuffs and charging him with resisting law enforcement.

A dog sniff of the closed front door alerted officers to the presence of illegal narcotics. A search warrant turned up cocaine, a handgun, ammunition, scales, plastic baggies and more than $2,400 in cash. Perez was charged with Class A felony dealing in cocaine and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. He filed a motion to suppress all evidence seized, which was denied.

Perez argues that the evidence must be suppressed because the police illegally detained him and handcuffed him, so his arrest for resisting law enforcement was unlawful and the subsequent search of his person violated his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Perez also claims that there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant for his residence and that the evidence seized during the search of his residence was unlawful.

In Ignacio Perez v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1206-CR-247, the judges noted the encounter between police and Perez began consensually and they rejected his claim that his detention was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment merely because the police were on his property.

The police had reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot and could lawfully detain Perez based on the evidence that Perez’s home was linked to multiple sales of cocaine, he had surveillance cameras set up outside, and he locked his front door and moved away from it when talking to police, the judges held. The officers also didn’t know what Perez was yelling in Spanish to his wife, so it was reasonable for them to detain him to control the scene.

The trial court properly denied the motion to suppress the cash seized from Perez following his arrest for resisting law enforcement, and the canine sniff was not an illegal search, the COA ruled.

Finally, the judges found that probable cause existed to issue the search warrant and that Perez’s claims that the search and seizure were violations under Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution also fail.

 

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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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