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Drunken driving conviction affirmed; tipster’s observations reasonable cause

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction for Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated Thursday, though one panelist wrote the court went deeper into the analysis of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment claim than it needed to do.

In Brian Russell v. State of Indiana, 46A03-1212-CR-544, the defendant flashed his headlights at a motorist ahead of him on U.S. 421 between Valparaiso and North Judson, and the motorist pulled over. Russell pulled alongside and asked the motorist how to get to another road.

Russell told the motorist he’d been drinking, but the other driver agreed to lead him to his destination. En route, the other motorist called police and arranged to have them positioned at a gas station at the crossroads. Russell was arrested there.

The majority opinion held that the tip, the motorist’s observations and those of the deputy were probable cause. “Because Russell’s rights under the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 11 were not violated, the trial court acted within its discretion in admitting evidence obtained as a result of Deputy Hahn’s investigatory stop of Russell’s vehicle,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Melissa May.

Judge Mark Bailey concurred in a separate opinion.

“The majority rightly concludes that Russell has waived any argument under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but then performs that analysis itself, waiver notwithstanding,” Mathias wrote. “Under these circumstances, I would conclude that Russell’s Fourth Amendment contention is waived without moving on to address the issue further.”

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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