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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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