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Justices rule officer didn't search car to find gun

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The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a man’s firearm conviction, finding the police officer who found a handgun in the man’s car during a traffic stop wasn’t searching the car when he saw the gun.

Cedric Lewis appealed his conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and his 12-year sentence. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Romeo Jonson pulled Lewis’ car over after Lewis changed lanes without signaling. Lewis’ license had been suspended, so Jonson thought the car would be towed. He stuck his head in the car through the open driver’s side door to tell the passenger to get out of the car when he saw a handgun wedged between the driver’s seat and the center console.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, but in Cedric Lewis v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1010-CR-619, the justices agreed with the lower court’s conviction of Lewis. In the five-page opinion, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote that Jonson’s discovery of the gun didn’t constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment or Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. Caselaw has held that a search involves an exploratory investigation and opening or looking into areas. There is no search when police look into cars during traffic stops, he wrote. Also, discovering items in plain view is not a search.

Jonson didn’t open any compartments, move any objects, or pull back anything to see the gun, so the officer wasn’t searching the car when he saw the gun.

The justices also upheld Lewis’ sentence, denying the defendant’s request to shorten his sentence.
 

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  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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