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Information used to obtain search warrant splits Court of Appeals

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Although the statements from three individuals were hearsay and initially led law enforcement to enter the wrong apartment, a split Indiana Court of Appeals found, collectively, the information supported probable cause.

Brian Bradley was convicted of Class D felony dealing in marijuana after Ripley County law enforcement, based on tips from informants, entered his apartment and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Officers learned Bradley was selling marijuana from a woman they arrested for possession of marijuana. The woman told officers she purchased the marijuana from a man nicknamed Shrek but, according to friends, was actually named Brian. She said he lived on the second floor of an antiques store in Batesville.

At 1:24 a.m., police entered the second-floor residence but found the apartment belonged to a couple. Separately, the couple told officers they had also purchased marijuana from Shrek, also known as Brian, who lived on the third floor.

A few hours later, police were able to obtain another warrant and searched Bradley’s apartment.  

At a hearing on Bradley’s motion to suppress evidence, the woman changed her testimony, saying she never directly bought marijuana from Brian, but rather her friends did so for her.

Later in the trial, the man who lived in the second-floor apartment backtracked from his original statements to police, saying he never purchased drugs directly from Bradley.   

However, the Court of Appeals found the warrants were legal because they were based on what police knew at the time and not on the statements the informants gave in court. That information, the COA ruled, was enough to support Bradley’s conviction for Class D felony dealing in marijuana.  

 “We find that (Ripley County Sheriff’s Department) Detective (Abraham) Hildebrand’s probable-cause affidavit contains information that establishes that the totality of the circumstances corroborates the hearsay,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the majority in Brian Bradley v. State of Indiana, 69A04-1306-CR-268. “…Here, there are bits and pieces of evidence tending to show probable cause that marijuana would be found in Brian’s third-floor apartment. Although each declarant, standing alone, may not have conclusively established probable cause, the evidence in the affidavit, when fitted together and viewed collectively, is sufficient to support the trial court’s finding of probable cause.”

Judge Patricia Riley dissented finding probable cause did not exist for the probable cause affidavit. The only details corroborated by all three informants are the name and nickname of the individual from whom marijuana was purchased. Also, the police did not substantiate the information and material facts are missing from the affidavit.  

“In cases like this – where the officers ultimately found marijuana, but only did so by disregarding the mandates of probable cause – our justice system pays the price,” Riley wrote. “The ‘privacy of all Hoosiers’ is put in jeopardy when constitutional protections are circumvented in order to secure evidence.”

 
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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