Traffic Stop

SCOTUS affirms search based on misunderstanding of law

December 15, 2014
 Associated Press
Police can use evidence seized during a traffic stop even if it turns out the officers initially pulled a car over based on a misunderstanding of the law, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Monday.
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COA reverses marijuana conviction based on illegal traffic stop

December 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A police officer was mistaken when he pulled over a vehicle that, due to a broken tail light, emitted more white light than red light, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The statute only requires that some red light be visible, which occurred in this case.
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Judges: Cop shouldn’t have asked driver for license

November 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s motion to suppress evidence collected during an investigatory traffic stop. The judges held that once the police officer knew the owner of the vehicle – who had a suspended license – was not driving, the investigation should have ended.
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COA affirms man’s speedy trial request not violated

August 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday affirmed the 25-year sentence handed down to a man whose erratic driving led police to pull his vehicle over and discover cocaine on the passenger. The judges found his right to a fast and speedy trial was not violated and the evidence supports that he jointly possessed the cocaine.
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COA finds officer had no reason to make woman sit in squad car after stop

August 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
 A police officer was not justified in requesting that the woman he pulled over for an expired driver’s license sit in his squad car while he decided how to proceed in the matter, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Argumentative passenger’s public intoxication conviction reversed

August 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A passenger in a car that a police officer stopped after seeing an arm and object hanging out of the car window, followed by the sound of shattering glass, was improperly convicted of public intoxication, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Warrantless search based on smell does not violated 4th Amendment

July 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite the absence of danger to the public, the strong odor of raw marijuana provided the probable cause a police officer needed to conduct a warrantless search.
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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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Admittance of hearsay evidence harmless error, rules 7th Circuit

July 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The out-of-court testimony of a woman who said she purchased crack cocaine from a man who was on supervised release should not have been admitted during the man’s hearing regarding revoking his release, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday. But this was a harmless error because the circumstantial evidence supports that the man dealt crack cocaine to the woman.
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Justifiable reason to stop driver enough to confirm subsequent conviction

May 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
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.
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Truck’s ‘excessive’ smoke justified traffic stop

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer had reasonable suspicion to pull over a driver after seeing his truck emit an “excessive” amount of smoke.
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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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Court reverses woman’s driving while suspended conviction

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a woman’s conviction for driving while suspended was based in part on trial court speculation that she had driven farther than was necessary to put herself out of harm’s way, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction.
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Judges reverse speeding infraction due to lack of proof

March 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A driver pulled over in Clark County for speeding was able to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday that the infraction should be reversed because the state couldn’t prove its case.
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Two traffic stops and two motions to suppress result in two different rulings

March 25, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A pair of opinions from the Indiana Supreme Court examines two Terry stops made by police officers and through opposite rulings emphasizes law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to pull over a driver.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of motion to suppress search of car

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of an automobile passenger’s motion to suppress evidence found in the car during a traffic stop, which led to his eventual pleading guilty to a heroin offense. The judges found no error by the District judge in crediting the testimony of the police officer who pulled the vehicle over because he believed the speed it was traveling and distance to the car in front of it violated Indiana law.
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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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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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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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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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