Fourth Amendment

Rejecting challenge of search, COA affirms cocaine conviction

November 14, 2016
Olivia Covington
Deciding that the “community caretaker role” exception to the Fourth Amendment can be extended beyond questions regarding seizures of a vehicle, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s cocaine conviction Monday after finding that evidence of the cocaine was not admitted in violation of his constitutional rights.
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COA divided over search producing gun, affirms conviction

November 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
The admission of a gun obtained without a warrant from a man later convicted of carrying a handgun without a license did not violate the man’s constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure and, thus, does not warrant the reversal of his conviction.
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Judge: East Chicago Housing Authority must stop warrantless home searches

October 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
The city of East Chicago and its housing authority have been ordered to stop what the ACLU of Indiana is calling “warrantless, nonconsensual entry” into residents’ homes after a district court ruled that doing so violated Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
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Justices consider rights of privacy vs. public safety in 4th Amendment case

October 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
At the center of an Indiana Supreme Court oral argument Thursday was the question of when exigent circumstances and an officer’s community caretaker role trump a citizen’s right to protection from unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment.
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South Bend family questions $18 award for police abuse

September 6, 2016
 Associated Press
The family of a black teenager who was punched and handcuffed by three South Bend police officers then subdued with a stun gun in a case of mistaken identity is questioning why jurors awarded them just $18 in a lawsuit accusing the officers of violating his constitutional rights.
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Warrantless inventory search of vehicle not unreasonable, COA holds

August 17, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Despite a police officer’s failure to strictly follow relevant procedures for completing a written inventory of items found in an impounded car, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the warrantless search of the car was not unreasonable.
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Man loses appeal over search that led to cocaine charges

July 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man on trial for Class A felony counts of dealing cocaine and conspiracy to deal cocaine lost his appeal Tuesday seeking to suppress evidence found in a search of his car.
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Justices: Houseguest couldn’t consent to home search

July 8, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday that a houseguest at a home in which police discovered drugs did not have the apparent authority to consent to a search of the house.
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Evidence found during arrest for public intox is admissible, COA rules

June 30, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s misdemeanor cocaine possession conviction after it held the search an officer conducted after finding the man asleep in his car did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights and thus the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the cocaine found during the search.
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High court limits drunken-driving test laws

June 23, 2016
 Associated Press
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday placed new limits on state laws that make it a crime for motorists suspected of drunken driving to refuse alcohol tests.
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SCOTUS rules for police in search case

June 20, 2016
 Associated Press
A divided U.S. Supreme Court bolstered police powers on Monday, ruling that evidence of a crime in some cases may be used against a defendant even if the police did something wrong or illegal in obtaining it.
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Federal judge weighs order to halt homeless camp sweeps

May 27, 2016
 Associated Press
A federal judge is weighing whether to issue an order barring Fort Wayne from conducting periodic sweeps of the city's homeless camps.
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COA: Man did not have expectation of privacy after he was tracked by GPS

May 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
Tracking of man by GPS did not violate his Fourth Amendment or Indiana constitutional rights, the Court of Appeals ruled, because he did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The appellate court upheld Joseph Sidener's Class C felony burglary conviction and the finding he is an habitual offender.
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COA: Gun evidence lawfully obtained

May 25, 2016
Scott Roberts
In its third Fourth Amendment case in two weeks, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled evidence obtained during a stop of a man who was loitering around an apartment complex and then left suspiciously was lawfully seized. The judges affirmed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress on interlocutory appeal.
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COA: Stop violated 4th Amendment

May 12, 2016
Scott Roberts
A police officer was not within his community caretaker function when he pulled over a woman who left a gas station after she escaped from getting stuck under car, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The public safety issue did not outweigh her right to privacy.
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Man who was visiting friend not subject to illegal search

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
A man who was visiting a friend when police found him in possession of a handgun was not a victim of an illegal search, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA: Minor lacks standing in suit against health department

April 19, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a minor was not in danger of sustaining injury from storage of her dried blood spot by the Indiana Department of Health and therefore lacked standing to bring a lawsuit, affirming the judgment of the Marion Superior Court.
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COA: Marijuana evidence obtained during illegal search

April 18, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s conviction of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver in an amount greater than 10 pounds after it found the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence that violated his Fourth Amendment rights to unreasonable searches and seizures.
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7th Circuit: 4th, 6th Amendment rights not violated in gun case

April 12, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said a firearm discovered by police was not the product of an illegal seizure and affirmed the denial of a man’s motion to suppress it. The court also held the statement he gave to police did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
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Lawsuit: Fort Wayne cleanups violate rights of the homeless

March 31, 2016
 Associated Press
Indiana's second-largest city faces a federal lawsuit alleging that it is violating homeless residents' constitutional rights by destroying tents, coats, blankets and other property seized during sweeps of homeless camps.
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Suit alleges pattern of illegal detentions in Fort Wayne

February 10, 2016
Dave Stafford
Three Fort Wayne residents – and perhaps scores more – were illegally detained by police without warrants, probable cause or even the accusation that they had broken the law, a federal lawsuit alleges.
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Arrest, search of woman who walked from police unconstitutional

February 9, 2016
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis police who arrested and searched a woman after she walked away from them violated her Fourth Amendment rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Dog sniff during traffic stop did not violate Constitution

January 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
The time it took for the police pup to arrive and sniff around a vehicle did not unreasonably prolong the traffic stop in violation a driver’s Constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Justices: Officer could open container found after pat-down search

January 22, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A police officer did not commit an unreasonable search when he opened a pill container found following a pat-down search after a man was lawfully placed under arrest for driving without a valid license. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the search under the state constitution.
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Judges split over reversal of drug conviction after inventory search

January 19, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Each member of a panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals authored an opinion regarding a man's marijuana conviction stemming from the discovery of the drug during an inventory search after he was arrested for allegedly driving on a suspended license. Two of the three judges voted to reverse his felony conviction.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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