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Judges reverse marijuana conviction

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The search of the car driven by a defendant violated the Fourth Amendment, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, so the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence obtained through an inventory search of the car.

In Meschach Berry v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-1109-CR-474, Meschach Berry drove a relative’s car to a car wash to pick up his last paycheck from the company. When he learned the paycheck wasn’t available, he parked his car at the company’s entrance and blocked traffic. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police responded to a call and told Berry to move the car. He moved it to the self-service vacuum bay area.
 
After discovering Berry had a suspended license, police asked if the car was insured so someone could drive it home. Berry was unsure, so police decided to tow the car and proceeded to conduct an inventory search of the car. Police found marijuana and a digital scale inside. The police did not create formal inventory sheets detailing Berry’s personal effects. He was charged with and convicted of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor.

Berry made several arguments on appeal as to why the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to suppress and admitting the evidence, but the COA only agreed with his argument that the state didn’t prove that the decision to impound the car was consistent with standard procedures followed by the IMPD. The record lacks any evidence of IMPD policy on impoundment, so the judges were unable to say whether the decision to impound the car was in keeping with such policy.

The judges reversed Berry’s drug conviction.  

 

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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