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Judges order trial in drunk driving case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the partial denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence, finding that the trial court properly determined that the evidence seized by the uniform on-duty police officers shouldn’t be suppressed pursuant to the exclusionary rule.

Carmel Police Officer Jeff Sedberry was driving home with his wife and daughter when he saw Clifton Ervin’s car weaving and crossing the center line. Sedberry believed Ervin might be drunk, so he called the Fishers Police Department to report Ervin’s location. He continued to follow Ervin’s car until Ervin abruptly pulled into a neighborhood, stopped his car and got out, walking toward Sedberry’s car. Sedberry was not in a police vehicle or police uniform and was off duty at the time.

Sedberry drew his gun, told Ervin he was a police officer and ordered him back to his car. Sedberry said he felt his family could be in danger based on Ervin’s behavior. Police arrived to the scene shortly and Ervin was ultimately arrested for driving while intoxicated and other related offenses.

He filed a motion to suppress, claiming he was illegally seized by Sedberry since he wasn’t in uniform or driving a marked police car. The trial court only granted the motion relating to the time Sedberry ordered Ervin back to his car until uniform officers arrived. The trial court denied suppressing the evidence relating to the uniformed officers, finding application of the exclusionary rule would be inappropriate.

In Clifton Ervin v. State of Indiana, 29A05-1109-CR-454, the appellate court analyzed Indiana Code 9-30-2-2, which outlines when an officer may arrest someone, with the goal of preventing police impersonators. It found that the statute wasn’t implicated to the extent that the evidence should be suppressed. The statute says an officer may not arrest a person for “violation of an Indiana law regulating the use and operation of a motor vehicle on an Indiana highway” unless the officer is in uniform or a marked police vehicle. However, Sedberry didn’t arrested Ervin.

The Court of Appeals remanded the cause for trial.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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