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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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