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Good-faith exception not applicable

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An Indiana trial court erred when it denied a defendant's motion to suppress evidence because the good-faith exception doesn't apply in this case, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.

In Brea Rice v. State of Indiana, No. 55A04-0902-CR-99, Brea Rice argued the drugs found in her purse after she was arrested on a warrant for receiving stolen property shouldn't be allowed into evidence because the search that led to the warrant wasn't supported by probable cause.

Mooresville Police officers Yarnell and Harris executed a search warrant of the home Rice rented and lived in with Brian Nysewander to find stolen property allegedly stored there. The search didn't turn up any of the missing property, but officers photographed a motorcycle helmet in the garage before leaving. That helmet turned out to be reported stolen, so police filed an affidavit of probable cause to arrest Rice and Nysewander.

Officer Whitley saw Rice at her back door as he drove by and stopped to arrest her because he knew she had a warrant. A search of her purse at the police department turned up two marijuana joints and a small amount of methamphetamine.

Rice was charged with possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. The receiving stolen property charge was later dismissed without prejudice, and Rice filed an interlocutory appeal after the trial court denied her motion to suppress the drug evidence.

The trial court acknowledged the arrest warrant shouldn't haven't been issued but found the police conduct could fall under the good-faith exception. There's no question Whitely acted in good faith in serving the arrest warrant; however, the actions of the officers who originate warrants must also be considered, wrote Judge Margret Robb.

Nothing in the record suggests the affidavit was deliberately misleading or false, but it did fail to show any connection between Rice and the crime of which she was accused, the judge continued.

"If we were to apply the good faith exception in this case and hold it was objectively reasonable for Officer Whitley to rely on a warrant supported by an affidavit wholly lacking probable cause, officers would have no incentive to discover and attest to facts amounting to probable cause in future affidavits, the defendant's right to seek review of the probable cause determination would be empty, and the exclusionary rule would have no meaning," she wrote.

The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter law enforcement from committing constitutional violations, and evidence should only be suppressed if it can be said the officer had knowledge or may properly be charged with the knowledge the search was unconstitutional. Yarnell may be charged with knowledge that an arrest warrant issued on the basis of his affidavit was unconstitutional, and as in Hensley v. State, 778 N.E.2d 484, 489 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), exclusion can therefore have a deterrent effect by ensuring future affidavits contain sufficient information for a judicial officer to determine probable cause, wrote Judge Robb.

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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