Traffic Stop

Justices affirm trucker’s cocaine-dealing convictions

November 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the cocaine-dealing convictions of a truck driver who challenged the state police stop that led to discovery of the drugs and claimed he was denied a speedy trial.
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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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COA reverses drug conviction due to lack of intent

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The state did not have sufficient evidence to convict a man of possession of cocaine under the intent prong of constructive possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. As a result, the judges reversed the defendant’s drug conviction.
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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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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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Tinted-window stop yielding pot arrest by precedent-setting cop upheld

August 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Keith Minch is on a roll in the appellate courts.
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Hole in tail lamp no cause for traffic stop, appeals panel rules

August 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indiana State Police trooper who pulled over a Jeep because a hole in its tail lamp emitted white light lacked probable cause to initiate the traffic stop that resulted in drunken-driving charges.
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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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Justices: Officer had reasonable suspicion window tint violated law

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress cocaine found on him after his car was stopped by police on the belief the car’s window tint did not comply with Indiana statute. The justices found the officer had reasonable suspicion that the tint was in violation of the Window Tint Statute.
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Although Miranda rights were violated, physical evidence still admissible

June 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a man’s incriminating statements made while sitting in a police car should have been suppressed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the error was harmless because the physical evidence seized was sufficient to sustain his convictions.
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Justices vacate transfer in pot bust case heard in Merrillville

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divided appellate court ruling upholding a marijuana conviction resulting from a tip that led to a traffic stop will stand after the Indiana Supreme Court vacated transfer.
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Officer had probable cause to believe defendant drove while drunk

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for judicial review involving his refusal to take a chemical test for intoxication. The judges found the evidence supported that the officer had probable cause that Paul Hassfurther drove his truck while intoxicated and that he knowingly refused to take the chemical test.
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Habitual traffic violator’s conviction upheld

April 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Inaction by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to update a man’s driving record to reflect his lifetime suspended license is not enough to nullify a statutory requirement that his lifetime suspension be imposed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA: Driving to avoid potholes isn’t enough to stop car

April 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the suppression of evidence in a man’s drunken-driving case, finding police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the man over because he was driving left of center on a county road to avoid poor road conditions.
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Trial court improperly suspended driving privileges for life

April 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior Court exceeded statutory authority when it suspended a man’s driving privileges for life, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held. At the time Thomas Porter was arrested and charged, his driving privileges were suspended for life, but that was no longer the case when he was sentenced.
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Car’s color alone doesn’t support traffic stop

February 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and federal courts, the judges were asked to consider whether a discrepancy between the observed color of a car and the color listed on its registration alone gives rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
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Floyd County attorney charged with drunken driving

February 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A southern Indiana lawyer who serves as the attorney for Floyd County government faces drunken driving charges after his arrest on Feb. 7.
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Judges affirm man’s drug conviction

February 6, 2013
IL Staff
A man stopped by police while driving through Vigo County for unsafe lane movement – and later convicted of Class A felony dealing in cocaine – couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his conviction should be overturned.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress after car stopped for window tint

January 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded on interlocutory appeal that an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer lacked reasonable suspicion when he stopped a man’s car due to the tint on his rear window because the evidence shows the window tint didn’t justify the stop.
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Traffic stop based on companion’s statement did not violate constitutional protections

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Police had the “reasonable suspicion” required to stop a possible impaired driver, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled, even though the driver’s companion did not specifically tell the officers the driver was intoxicated.
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Court of Appeals rules that blinking turn signal not enough to support drug conviction

October 19, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding that the continuous use of a turn signal without turning does not justify a traffic stop, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out a conviction for possession of marijuana.
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Man’s additional charges should have been dismissed

September 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Whitley Superior Court should have granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss two operating while intoxicated charges because the charges came after he pleaded guilty to two other charges relating to the same initial traffic stop.
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COA affirms drug dealing, possession convictions

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of multiple felony drug charges and sentenced to 50 years in prison with 15 years suspended was not deprived his Fourth Amendment rights, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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In-court marijuana field test ruled error, but not reversible

July 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
An appeals court panel ruled that a deputy’s in-court field test to prove a substance was marijuana should not have been allowed, but it declined to use the error as a basis to reverse a man’s misdemeanor conviction.
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Drunken driving conviction affirmed; lesser included charge vacated

July 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Marion Superior Court conviction in a drunken driving case was affirmed Thursday by the Indiana Court of Appeals, but the court ordered a lesser included charge on which the driver was convicted be merged.
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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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