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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. 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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