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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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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