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Judges uphold drug convictions and sentence

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A defendant’s argument that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police searched his vehicle and found pills failed because the man abandoned his vehicle after the traffic stop. By fleeing, he relinquished any reasonable expectation of privacy in the car, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

A police officer initiated a traffic stop of Douglas Wilson Jr.’s car after the officer saw Wilson’s car parked in a handicapped spot without a proper plate or permit. After running the vehicle plate, the officer found that Wilson’s license was suspended and he had outstanding arrest warrants. While the officer was radioing about the traffic stop, Wilson got out of his car, locked the doors, and fled.

Police decided to tow the car and found hydromorphone and morphine sulfate pills and cellophane wrappers in the car that were prescribed to Wilson’s girlfriend. Police later found Wilson, and he was convicted of Class B felony dealing in a narcotic drug, Class D felony possession of a narcotic drug, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while suspended.

His motion to suppress the drugs found in the car was denied at trial. On appeal in Douglas P. Wilson, Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 79A05-1107-CR-350, Wilson claimed that admitting the evidence found in the car violated the Fourth Amendment because the officer’s search was unreasonable because it was an improper inventory search. Wilson abandoned his vehicle after the officer initiated a traffic stop, and the judges found his argument that he locked his car and took the keys with him unpersuasive.

There was sufficient evidence to support his drug convictions as Wilson had constructive possession over the pills and a witness saw Wilson trying to sell some of the pills the day before he was pulled over by police. The judges also upheld his 13-year sentence.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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