ILNews

Divided appellate court reinstates charges stemming from illegal stop

August 15, 2013
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An Indianapolis man who faced multiple charges when he fled from and battled with police after a stop the state concedes was illegal still may be prosecuted on evidence gained after he fled, two of three Court of Appeals judges ruled Tuesday.

Judges Clay Bradford and Elaine Brown reversed the trial court’s suppression of that evidence, but affirmed evidence of marijuana and cocaine possession that proceeded the suspect’s flight in State of Indiana v. Robert Owens, 49A02-1210-CR-817.

Owens was charged after he was arrested late at night emerging from behind a westside Indianapolis school building. Passing Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers stopped him, one admitted “on a hunch,” and Owens admitted swallowing a “blunt.” Police pressed Owens to admit to drug possession, at which time he fled, later fought with police, and was stunned twice with a Taser.

He was charged with Class A felony dealing in cocaine, Class A felony cocaine possession, two counts of Class D felony battery on a law enforcement officer, two counts of Class D felony resisting law enforcement, and Class D felony obstruction of justice.

"Evidence related to Owens’s flight from and battery of officers ... should not have been suppressed. To the extent that the trial court’s order suppressed this evidence, we reverse it," Bradford wrote for the majority. "We conclude, however, that any and all evidence related to the 'blunt' that Owens allegedly attempted to ingest and the alleged cocaine found on his person should be suppressed, and affirm that portion of the trial court’s order."

Judge Patricia Riley in dissent wrote that the trial court was in the better position to judge which evidence arising from the illegal stop should be thrown out.

"By suppressing this evidence, the trial court apparently believed that Owens’s actions resulted from the officers’ exploitation of the illegal stop," Riley wrote. "I would uphold its suppression of evidence relating to Owens’s flight from and battery of" the officers.  


 

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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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