Judges reverse marijuana conviction

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.  



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Heritage, what Heritage? The New Age is dawning .... an experiment in disordered liberty and social fragmentation is upon us .... "Carmel City Council approved a human rights ordinance with a 4-3 vote Monday night after hearing about two hours of divided public testimony. The ordinance bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, among other traits. Council members Rick Sharp, Carol Schleif, Sue Finkam and Ron Carter voted in favor of it. The three council members opposing it—Luci Snyder, Kevin Rider and Eric Seidensticker—all said they were against any form of discrimination, but had issues with the wording and possible unintended consequences of the proposal." Kardashian is the new Black.

  2. Can anyone please tell me if anyone is appealing the law that certain sex offenders can't be on school property. How is somebody supposed to watch their children's sports games or graduations, this law needs revised such as sex offenders that are on school property must have another non-offender adult with them at all times while on school property. That they must go to the event and then leave directly afterwards. This is only going to hurt the children of the offenders and the father/ son mother/ daughter vice versa relationship. Please email me and let me know if there is a group that is appealing this for reasons other than voting and religion. Thank you.

  3. Should any attorney who argues against the abortion industry, or presents arguments based upon the Founders' concept of Higher Law, (like that marriage precedes the State) have to check in with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program for a mandatory mental health review? Some think so ... that could certainly cut down on cases such as this "cluttering up" the SCOTUS docket ... use JLAP to deny all uber conservative attorneys licenses and uber conservative representation will tank. If the ends justify the means, why not?

  4. Tell them sherry Mckay told you to call, they're trying to get all the people that have been wronged and held unlawfully to sign up on this class action lawsuit.

  5. Call Young and Young aAttorneys at Law theres ones handling a class action lawsuit