ILNews

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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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