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Justices to hear cheek swab, blood draw cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court is set to hear three arguments Thursday, including a case that challenges whether reasonable suspicion alone is sufficient for law enforcement to obtain DNA from a cheek swab.

Justices will hold arguments in Arturo Garcia-Torres v. State of Indiana, No. 64S03-0912-CR-550, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Arturo Garcia-Torres' convictions of rape and burglary and the denial of his motion to suppress DNA evidence from a cheek swab. The appellate court held taking the cheek swab required reasonable suspicion and isn't subject to the advice-of-counsel requirements in Pirtle v. State, 263 Ind. 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975).

Judge Terry Crone dissented because he believed that taking the swab from a custodial suspect requires probable cause under the Fourth Amendment and is subject to the advice-of-counsel requirements of Pirtle. Arguments begin at 9:45 a.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom.

At 10:30 a.m., the high court will hear Roger Brown v. State of Indiana, No. 12S02-0912-CR-560, in which the Court of Appeals ruled the results of Roger Brown's blood-alcohol test shouldn't have been admitted because it was performed by a certified lab technician. The appellate judges held certified lab techs aren't "certified phlebotomists" or otherwise someone trained in getting bodily substance samples under Indiana Code Section 9-30-6-6(j). Roger Brown challenged the admittance of two tests used to prove his intoxication and support his convictions of drunk driving. The appellate court upheld his convictions anyway because it believed the state was able to prove he was intoxicated and his driving caused the victims' injuries.

The justices will also hear Sheehan Construction Co. Inc. v. Continental Casualty Co., No. 49A02-0805-CV-420, at 9 a.m. That case involves a dispute over what, if any, coverage was provided by commercial general liability insurance policies after allegedly faulty workmanship was done by Sheehan's subcontractor. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the insurers and insurance broker.

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  1. The ADA acts as a tax upon all for the benefit of a few. And, most importantly, the many have no individual say in whether they pay the tax. Those with handicaps suffered in military service should get a pass, but those who are handicapped by accident or birth do NOT deserve that pass. The drivel about "equal access" is spurious because the handicapped HAVE equal access, they just can't effectively use it. That is their problem, not society's. The burden to remediate should be that of those who seek the benefit of some social, constructional, or dimensional change, NOT society generally. Everybody wants to socialize the costs and concentrate the benefits of government intrusion so that they benefit and largely avoid the costs. This simply maintains the constant push to the slop trough, and explains, in part, why the nation is 20 trillion dollars in the hole.

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  3. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

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