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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 can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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