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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. 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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