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Court properly admitted gun into evidence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s conviction of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, rejecting his argument that the gun he tossed away while running from police should not have been admitted into evidence.

In Jermaine Hines v. State of Indiana, 48A02-1206-CR-442, Anderson police believed Hines may have been involved in a shooting at a gas station based on interviews with several witnesses. Police decided they wanted to talk to Hines again – he had previously denied involvement in the shooting – and saw him leaving a home on a moped that was the base for drug trafficking.

Uniformed offices in a marked car saw Hines at the gas station and called out to Hines that they wanted to speak to him. Hines sped off on his moped, later crashing it and running from police on foot. While the officers were chasing him on foot, they saw Hines throw something and heard it hit against a house. Hines tossed a .45 caliber handgun.

He was charged with resisting law enforcement and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, but only convicted of the firearm charge. His motion to suppress the evidence was denied.

Hines argued that the police did not have legal cause to detain him, and, as a result, he was free to decline to speak with the officers. He conceded that the firearm was abandoned, but he claimed that it was abandoned only after law enforcement officers attempted to illegally seize him, so the trial court should have denied the state’s request to admit the firearm into evidence.

Judge Rudolph Pyle III, writing for the court, concluded that the police had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to detain Hines based on information from witnesses of the shooting, the observation that Hines left a drug house, and when officers approached him to speak, Hines fled.

The judges agreed with the state that the seizure of the firearm isn’t subject to protections of the Fourth Amendment because Hines abandoned it. The facts of the case show Hines’ intention to relinquish any possessory interest in the firearm by tossing it as he fled from the officers, Pyle wrote.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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