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Court affirms mobile meth lab conviction, sentence arising from car search

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A man’s conviction and 24-year sentence on charges related to a mobile meth lab found in his vehicle was affirmed Tuesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In Charles Hall v. State of Indiana, 13A04-1111-CR-622, the court rejected Hall’s argument that a search of his vehicle violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Police found evidence of a methamphetamine lab, the finished drug and precursors in Hall’s vehicle.

Hall led police on a high-speed chase after a Crawford County sheriff’s deputy tried to initiate a traffic stop. Hall’s car ultimately came to rest in a field and he fled on foot. He argued on appeal that evidence obtained from the vehicle should have been excluded.

“We conclude that Hall abandoned his vehicle; therefore, the search did not implicate the Fourth Amendment. In light of Hall’s highly dangerous conduct and his lengthy record of convictions relating to driving and/or drug use, Hall has not persuaded us that his sentence is inappropriate,” Court of Appeals Judge Terry Crone wrote for the unanimous panel.

Hall was convicted of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class C felony possession of precursors, Class C felony operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension, and Class D felony resisting law enforcement.

The court also noted that Hall created a public safety hazard during the chase and after abandoning the vehicle.

“He also left an active one-pot methamphetamine lab untended in his vehicle. State Police Officer Paul Andry, who was part of the team that removed the hazardous materials from Hall’s vehicle, testified that the one-pot method involves mixing the necessary chemicals in a closed bottle,” Crone wrote.

Pressurized gases result from the chemical interactions. “If the lab is not tended to, one of two things typically happens: either the pressure builds to the point where it causes an explosion and releases a lethal cloud of ammonia gas, or the mixture melts a hole in the bottle, and the exposure to oxygen causes the chemicals to ignite as they spew from the bottle, creating an effect like a flame thrower,” the opinion said.

“Officer Andry testified that these effects were capable of burning out an entire vehicle. Thus, the evidence raises an inference that Hall not only was attempting to disassociate himself with the vehicle, but also that he did not reasonably expect the vehicle to remain intact. There is ample evidence that Hall abandoned the vehicle; therefore, his Fourth Amendment rights were not violated, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the evidence obtained from the vehicle.”

 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

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