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Court affirms locked glove box search

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Without a case on point for the Indiana Court of Appeals to follow, the state’s second-highest appellate court has followed the direction of federal rulings and national precedent on allowing police to search locked glove boxes without a warrant.

The 2-1 ruling came today in Anthony A. Parish v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1002-CR-74, in which the majority affirmed the judgment from Allen Superior Judge Frances Gull that denied Parish’s claims that a gun and marijuana found inside his car should have been suppressed because police didn’t have a warrant to search the locked glove box.

Judge Patricia Riley disagreed with her colleagues, finding that police weren’t justified in their warrantless search and that the evidence found inside should have been suppressed. Parish should receive a new trial, she found.

The case involves a September 2008 patrol stop where Fort Wayne police observed Parish’s vehicle making a turn without a signal. The officer recognized Parish as he was a suspect in several shootings, and police were on “high alert” that he was armed following a previous warning that he’d threatened to kill the next officer he encountered.

While waiting for backup to arrive on the scene, the officer ordered Parish out of the car and performed a pat-down search until another officer arrived and handcuffed Parish for another protective search. The first officer began a protective search inside the car and used the keys to unlock the glove box because of suspicions Parish was armed. Inside, that officer found a Smith and Wesson revolver and bag of what was later determined to be marijuana, but after seizing that evidence and checking his license and registration, let Parish leave with a moving citation for not using his turn signal.

Four months after that stop, police arrested Parish after finding the weapon seized matched ballistics to the weapon used in a murder that summer. He was ultimately convicted by a jury in November 2009 on murder, Class B felony robbery, and class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. He received 86 years incarceration.

Despite Parish’s attempts to have the evidence suppressed on Fourth Amendment illegal search grounds, the trial judge denied those motions setting the stage for this appeal.

In the 15-opinion, Judges Paul Mathias and Cale Bradford affirmed the trial judge’s handling of the case and found the police were justified in searching that locked glove box – though they did point out questions about why police had let Parish leave with only a traffic citation.

The majority determined it was reasonable for the officer to conclude her safety was in danger, and the judges relied on state caselaw allowing for warrantless searches in those situations.

“We think it goes without saying that a glove box is a place where a weapon could easily be placed or hidden,” Judge Mathias wrote, noting that this case is unique because it deals with a locked glove box being searched as part of a protective search. “In other words, does the fact that the glove box was locked mean that Parish could not gain immediate control of any weapon hidden therein? Although there appears to be no Indiana case directly on point, the federal courts of appeal, including the Seventh Circuit, have held that a locked glove box may be searched during a protective search of an automobile.”

The cases cited involved situations where occupants were initially removed from a car during a traffic stop because an officer might be in danger, but the occupants were allowed to return to that vehicle.

That differs from the facts in Arizona v. Gant, 129 S. Ct. 1710 (2009), in which the nation’s highest court ruled those searches weren’t allowed in situations where a driver is arrested and secured prior to that search being done by police.

Judge Riley dissented, saying that the state hadn’t proved that an exception to the search warrant requirement was needed. She cited Arizona v. Gant and how the Supreme Court limited law enforcement’s ability to search a vehicle and that applies here. That precedent guides Indiana law, she determined.

“While we are dealing here with a traffic stop, rather than an arrest, the fact remains that Parish, like Gant, was removed from his car and handcuffed,” she wrote. “Accordingly, because Parish no longer posed a threat, the officers cannot justify a search of his car based on a concern for officer safety. The justification of the search diminishes even more in light of the fact that the officers released Parish after the search. A more prudent course of action for the officers would have been to take Parish into custody as a ‘suspect in several shootings’ and then request a search warrant for his car.”
 

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  • sad
    the dissent had it right. Its basically a Terry stop and a ridiculous overextension of the reasoning behind them. Bill of socalled rights out the door, yet again!
  • Law
    This is simply a case that tells cops that their badge is a license to break the law and that they are above the law!

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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