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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. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

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  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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