Fourth Amendment

COA splits over whether pat down after traffic stop was justified

July 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court abused its discretion when it denied a man’s motion to suppress drug evidence found on him after police pulled him over for failing to signal a turn. But the dissenting judge believed the arresting officer had sufficient reason to think the defendant might be armed and dangerous during their encounter.
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Justices reverse resisting conviction for man who walked from police

June 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man who walked away from police after they ordered him to stop was wrongly convicted of resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Supreme Court held Friday in one of two cases that reviewed the statute.
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'Get a warrant' to search cellphones, justices say

June 25, 2014
 Associated Press
In an emphatic defense of privacy in the digital age, a unanimous Supreme Court of the United States ruled Wednesday that police generally may not search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.
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Majority reverses teen’s underage drinking adjudication

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals wanted to make a point “loud and clear” Tuesday: Suspicion of criminal activity is not an exception to the warrant requirement. The majority reversed a teen’s adjudication as a delinquent based on acts of illegal possession of alcohol, illegal consumption of alcohol, and aiding illegal consumption of alcohol.
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COA: Search of passenger not unconstitutional

April 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s claim that drugs found in her possession should not have been admitted at trial because a police search of her after a traffic stop violated the federal and state constitutions.
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7th Circuit: Protective sweep by SWAT team reasonable

April 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found in his home during a protective sweep by the SWAT team after responding to a hostage situation. Marcus Henderson claimed the sweep – which led to the discovery of firearms – was unreasonable.
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Judges split over Fourth Amendment violation

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Two of the three judges on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel affirmed the suppression of marijuana and a pipe found on a man during a traffic stop, with the dissenting judge believing there was no infringement on the man’s Fourth Amendment rights.
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Settlement of federal case requires Indianapolis police to revise procedure

February 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
As part of a settlement to a federal civil rights case, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will be instituting a new policy prohibiting police officers from interfering with civilians who are recording their actions.
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No constitutional violations occurred when police entered home

February 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s federal and state constitutional rights were not violated when police officers entered his home without a warrant based on concerns an injured animal or person may be inside.
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Man’s 10-year cocaine sentence upheld by 7th Circuit

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the drugs seized at his home with a warrant following his arrest should have been excluded from determining his sentence after the District judge ruled the warrant was invalid.
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7th Circuit: Gunman’s reach for weapon nullifies excessive force claim

February 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A federal court in South Bend rightfully rejected a civil rights claim brought by a man shot by state troopers trying to serve a warrant who found themselves in a six-hour armed standoff, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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COA: Deputy not justified in entering backyard

December 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A sheriff’s deputy who tried to serve a protective order was not justified in entering the backyard of a home after no one answered knocking at the front door, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The deputy saw marijuana in the backyard, leading to the homeowner’s arrest.
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7th Circuit blasts counsel, tosses race-based traffic-stop appeal

December 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart man failed to show a traffic stop and drunken-driving arrest was unconstitutional in an appeal that a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected with an opinion blasting his lawyer’s work.
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Drug-dog sniff after traffic stop was rightly suppressed

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A southern Indiana trial court rightly suppressed drug evidence gathered after a police drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of meth in a van after a traffic stop.
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No constitutional violations in stopping car with interim dealer plate

October 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding an Indianapolis police officer had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop of a car with an interim dealer plate, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the driver’s conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after his driving privileges had been forfeited for life.
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Justices: Meth arrest of man at rental storage unit violated Fourth Amendment

September 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction and 45-year sentence on a meth charge cannot stand because the police search at a rental storage unit that led to his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment protections, a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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Drunken driving conviction affirmed; tipster’s observations reasonable cause

September 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction for Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated Thursday, though one panelist wrote the court went deeper into the analysis of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment claim than it needed to do.
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Community-caretaking duties permits warrantless search

August 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A warrantless search that led to discovery of marijuana and a handgun did not violate the Fourth Amendment because the police found the items as part of their “community-caretaking” duties.
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7th Circuit affirms residential search based on ‘nonverbal cues’

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A warrantless search was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the defendant consented through nonverbal cues, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA: Lingering odor of burnt marijuana does not justify warrantless search

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
No possibility of danger or smell of marijuana was evident, and that was enough to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals to suppress evidence found during a police officer’s search of a motorist’s backpack.
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COA: Police escort into home does not violate 4th Amendment

July 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday decided that a police officer’s refusal to allow a defendant to enter his or her residence without being accompanied by an officer until a search warrant has been obtained is a reasonable seizure that does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
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Cabbies sue town of Speedway for race-day license seizures

July 2, 2013
IL Staff
More than 80 taxi cab drivers have sued the town of Speedway for allegedly seizing their licenses when they attempted to pick up fares after the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.
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Man’s claims that protective sweep, search are unconstitutional fail

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A protective sweep and subsequent search of a house following the issuance of a search warrant were reasonable under the federal and state constitutions, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The defendant argued that the scope of the sweep – which led to the discovery of drugs and paraphernalia – was impermissibly broad.
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Police following drug package wire into home unconstitutional, COA rules

March 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
Police violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure when they used a parcel wire to track the opening of a shipment of marijuana in an Indianapolis man’s home, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Judge supports denying rehearing, but disagrees with colleagues’ rationale

January 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for rehearing and for a rehearing en banc after the court originally upheld the seizure of thousands of dollars following a traffic stop. But one judge did write to explain that she disagreed with her fellow panel members’ rationale for originally affirming the seizure.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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