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Man’s claims that protective sweep, search are unconstitutional fail

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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.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Department detectives went to Floyd Weddle’s home to serve a search warrant for theft and false informing. They also learned that Weddle and Vicki Hall were manufacturing and dealing in methamphetamine. The cars of Weddle and Hall were parked outside the home. When police knocked, they saw the blinds move in the home and heard movement in the house. They entered and saw Weddle and immediately placed him in custody.

The officers heard movement in the back of the house. Hall was in a bedroom and came out. Weddle then said he wasn’t sure if anyone else was in the house, so one sergeant performed a brief protective sweep through open doors and some rooms in the house. They found Lindsay Burton hiding behind a blanket in a bedroom. While searching, police smelled meth and saw a marijuana plant. Weddle refused to allow officers to search the rest of the house, so a search warrant was obtained, which led to more drug evidence. Weddle was charged with and convicted of several drug offenses.  

In Floyd Weddle v. State of Indiana, 73A01-1209-CR-452, Weddle argued the protective sweep and warrantless search of the home was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. The appellate judges found the scope of the protective sweep was not excessive under either Constitution.

“We find that the protective sweep of Weddle’s residence was justified because the police officers searched only adjoining rooms from which an attack could immediately occur,” Judge John Baker wrote, pointing to Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325, 334-35 (1990), and Hannibal v. State, 804 N.E.2d 206 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004). “We further find that the protective sweep was permissible because the officers had specific articulable facts that an individual, who could jeopardize their safety, was hiding in the back of the house.”

Regarding the Indiana constitutional claims, the judges found the circumstances supplied the officers with a high degree of concern that someone else could be hiding in the house and attack them. As such, the protective sweep and subsequent search following the issuance of the search warrant were reasonable.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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