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Judge supports denying rehearing, but disagrees with colleagues’ rationale

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for rehearing and for a rehearing en banc after the court originally upheld the seizure of thousands of dollars following a traffic stop. But one judge did write to explain that she disagreed with her fellow panel members’ rationale for originally affirming the seizure.

Michael D. Weir complained that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when a police officer seized $6,655 from him during a traffic stop. The car was originally pulled over after police observed Weir, a front seat passenger, not wearing his seatbelt. The police found the driver didn’t have a valid license or plates for the car, and decided to impound it. A pat down of Weir revealed a pocket knife, and while performing the pat down, the officer felt what appeared to be a large amount of cash.

The officer seized the cash, but allowed Weir to leave the scene. The driver was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia based on evidence found at the traffic stop. The driver later implicated Weir in a drug conspiracy, to which he implicated himself further after his arrest.

“I agree with Weir that the officer did not have probable cause to seize the cash at the time the officer effected the seizure,” Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote.

“The opinion concludes that the officers could seize the money because Weir was the passenger in a stolen car, and because they later discovered the digital scales in that car. But at the time the officer seized the cash, the officer had no evidence connecting Weir or the cash to criminal activity,” she continued. “That the officer later learned that the car was stolen and that it contained drug paraphernalia cannot retroactively justify the seizure.”

But she found even if seizure of the cash was error it was not plain error. The outcome of the case would have been the same if the cash wasn’t seized because it was the cash’s discovery that led to Weir’s downfall.

“Once the cash was legitimately discovered, alea iacta est. I therefore concur in the denial of the petition for rehearing, but I do not endorse the rationale used in the opinion to justify the seizure,” she wrote in United States of America v. Michael D. Weir, 11-3321.

 

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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