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Curry: 12-hour arrestee probable cause rule unrealistic

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Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry told judges Tuesday that a proposed rule requiring a probable cause determination within 12 hours of an arrest in major felony cases would “set up the criminal justice system to fail in many instances.”

The proposed rule change recommended by Indianapolis criminal court judges is on hold for now.

Noting this past weekend’s multiple shooting in Broad Ripple and the slaying of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Perry Renn, Curry said investigations of such matters shouldn’t be compromised by standards that would burden already strained law-enforcement resources.

“We just feel as a practical matter a 12-hour limit is unrealistic,” Curry told judges of the Marion Superior Executive Committee. “You only have to look back to the events of this past weekend.”

Marion Superior criminal judges have endorsed a 12-hour rule on the advice of counsel, and the committee called on Curry to explain his office’s opposition.

While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld detention up to 48 hours before a probable cause determination, Marion Superior judges have been advised that detention of a suspect for more than 12 hours could give rise to a civil-rights case, because judges here are available 22 hours a day, seven days a week to make probable cause determinations at the Arrestee Processing Center.

Marion Superior Criminal Term chairwoman Judge Lisa Borges said there was misunderstanding about what judges were seeking. Rather than a full probable cause determination, she said judges want to make sure people weren’t being detained without explanation.

“There has to be a reason for locking them up. That’s what we’re looking for,” Borges said, noting a simple statement from the arresting officer in most cases would suffice. “All we need is a statement of reason for the arrest.”

Borges said those determinations are routinely made within 12 hours for people suspected of minor offenses such as public intoxication, but not in major crimes cases.

Curry disagreed that it was constitutionally necessary to determine probable cause sooner than 48 hours, and he said imposing a 12-hour rule would jeopardize sensitive and complex investigations, particularly in major crimes. “One size just does not fit all,” he said.

Judge James Osborn said the courts shouldn’t rush to effectuate a rule that could cause trouble for investigating officers and prosecutors. He and other judges suggested a 24-hour rule might be more workable.

“My only concern is, are we being too aggressive?” Osborne said. He cautioned that if the judges adopted a 12-hour rule, “We are basically defining our own liability.”

After lengthy discussion Tuesday, the committee tabled the proposal. Chairman Judge David Certo said he would draft a proposal in consultation with Curry and the criminal court judges to present to the committee later.

 
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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