Tuggle v. State of Indiana - 4/15/14

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Tuesday  April 15, 2014 
3:00 PM  EST

3 p.m. 49A05-1308-CR-413. Tuggle arrived at an Indianapolis hospital emergency room, claiming to be the victim of a shooting and an armed robbery.  Although the police seized Tuggle’s clothing from the hospital and obtained a search warrant prior to performing any DNA testing, Tuggle contends that the DNA test results confirming that Tuggle was a suspect in another shooting should not have been admitted into evidence.  Tuggle argues that he never relinquished any privacy rights in his property and the clothing showed no immediate apparent incriminating characteristics.  Thus, Tuggle claims that the initial seizure of his clothing violated his rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.  Therefore, Tuggle contends that the results of the DNA testing on the clothing were improperly admitted into evidence.       

The State counters that the clothing was properly seized and secured under both the plain view doctrine and the presence of exigent circumstances.  The State argues that a search warrant allowing the DNA testing was properly obtained, and there was no violation of either the Fourth Amendment or the Indiana Constitution.  Hence, the State asserts that the results of the DNA testing pointing to Tuggle as a suspect of the murder were properly admitted into evidence.

Tuggle was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to fifty years of incarceration.  This appeal ensues.

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