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Judges find evidence properly admitted in drug case

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North Manchester resident Michael Carpenter lost his attempt before the Indiana Court of Appeals to have evidence tossed out that was collected when police officers arrived at his home attempting to serve an arrest warrant for a different man. Police believed the man being sought lived at Carpenter’s residence.

Wabash County Sheriff’s deputies were attempting to serve an arrest warrant for Austin Howard. The arrest warrant for Howard listed his last known address as an intersection in the county. Deputies asked North Manchester police officer Jeremy Jones to assist with the address. Jones told deputies Howard lived at a nearby house. Frank and Emily Price now live at that home with Carpenter.

When deputies arrived to serve the warrant, Deputy Matthew Cox saw something come out of a side window to the bathroom. He saw several people in the bathroom, including Carpenter, who was dumping something into the toilet. Cox yelled to stop and that he was a police officer. Officers saw what they believed were items used to make methamphetamine in the bathroom. They obtained a search warrant and later arrested Carpenter.

He was charged with Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing in meth and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance, but he was only convicted of the drug charge. Carpenter’s attorney made repeated objections to the initial search.

In Michael Carpenter v. State of Indiana, 85A05-1202-CR-57, Carpenter argued that police didn’t have a legitimate reason for being on the property because Howard had not lived at the property for a couple of years and the officers did not have reason to believe that Howard was at the property. Carpenter also claimed that Cox’s initial entry into the side yard, looking into the window, and returning to the window with another deputy was unlawful.

The Court of Appeals wasn’t persuaded by Carpenter’s claims his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The judges concluded the arrest warrant was valid and the officers had the authority to walk around the curtilage, where they could notice things in plain view such as through a bathroom window, Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

The appellate court also found that Carpenter waived his state constitutional argument, but even if he hadn’t, he would not prevail.  

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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