COA: Police escort into home does not violate 4th Amendment

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In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday decided that a police officer’s refusal to allow a defendant to enter his or her residence without being accompanied by an officer until a search warrant has been obtained is a reasonable seizure that does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The novel issue arose in Cynthia Sugg v. State of Indiana, 31A05-1208-CR-397, in which Cynthia Sugg challenged her numerous methamphetamine- and marijuana-related convictions. Sugg and her husband in February 2012 separately purchased on the same day from the same drug store a box of 48-pills of pseudoephedrine. Indiana State Police detective Katrina Smith with the methamphetamine suppression unit saw in the National Pseudoephedrine Log Exchange the next day that Sugg and her husband had made the purchases. The two already faced charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, so Smith and other officers went to Sugg’s house for a “knock and talk.”

The officers observed some items outside that could be used to make meth and found Sugg outside with no coat or shoes on. They identified themselves to her and said they were investigating meth manufacturing. Sugg lied to officers about purchasing the pills the previous day and denied the officers entrance into her home. The police sought a search warrant and, during that time, said they would allow Sugg back into her home to get a jacket and shoes only if she was escorted by police so she couldn’t destroy evidence or get a weapon. She allowed it, and while in there, an officer saw marijuana and smelled it.

Sugg was later arrested after the search warrant was executed, convicted on six charges, and sentenced to 10 years. Sugg appealed, claiming the evidence was admitted in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

The COA affirmed her convictions, relying on the United States Supreme Court case, Illinois v. McArthur, 531 U.S. 326 (2001). The restraint imposed was only for the short time it took to get the search warrant, and police had probable cause to believe her home contained contraband, Judge James Kirsch wrote.

There was also no violation of the state Constitution, the judges held, finding under the totality of the circumstances, the intrusion was reasonable.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues