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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. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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