Justifiable reason to stop driver enough to confirm subsequent conviction

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Although a police officer began following a pick-up truck after he mistakenly ran the wrong license plate number, the driver’s conviction will stand because the officer did not initiate the stop until he observed the driver make a traffic violation.

Jose Santana appealed his conviction of a Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life. He was pulled over by Goshen Police Officer Todd Burks after Santana failed to signal a turn less than 200 feet before turning.

Santana argued Burks did not have a valid reason for stopping his truck. He asserted the stop was improper because the officer got the license plate number incorrect.

When Burks ran Santana’s license plate, he omitted one digit and got a report that indicated the truck did not have the proper plate. For this reason, the officer started following the truck but maintained he did not pull Santana over until Santana activated his turn signal 100 to 150 feet before he turned.

Burks pointed to Indiana Code 9-21-8-25 which requires turn signals be activated at least 200 feet before turning or changing lanes.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in Jose M. Santana v. State of Indiana, 20A04-1302-CR-54.

Citing Turner v. State, 862 N.E.2d 695, 699 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), the Court of Appeals ruled Burks may not have followed Santana if he had entered the correct license number, but the officer still had an objectively justifiable reason to stop the driver.  




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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.