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Mother, wife could consent to search of home for meth

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A man convicted of making methamphetamine objected to his conviction, arguing that his mother, who he claims has Alzheimer’s disease, and his wife did not have the authority to allow police to search his home on the report he was making the drug.

Jennifer and Casey Walker lived with Casey Walker’s mother, Mary Walker, who owned the home. Casey Walker served as her power of attorney, but his mother was not under a guardianship. Jennifer Walker saw her husband put something into a plastic bottle and smelled a chemical odor, so she believed he was making meth. She took her mother-in-law to her sister’s home and called police.

Police met with the wife and mother, and they consented to police entering the house. Police knocked on the door several times and went inside after receiving no response. They placed Casey Walker in handcuffs and noticed a chemical odor in the home. Officers also saw objects related to the manufacturing of meth. This led to a search warrant, where officers found other related items.

Casey Walker sought to suppress the evidence, claiming the search warrant wasn’t valid and his wife and mother couldn’t authorize police to enter the home. His motions were denied, and he was convicted of Class A felony manufacturing meth and sentenced to 30 years.

In Casey Walker v. State of Indiana, 76A04-1204-CR-207, Casey Walker argued his mother was incompetent and could not consent. But at the time of the search, Mary Walker wasn’t under a guardianship and was not divested of making decisions for herself, Judge John Baker wrote. In addition, Casey Walker didn’t present any evidence regarding his mother’s mental capacity.

The judges found Jennifer Walker had the ability to consent to the search: She is Casey Walker’s wife and they live in the same home. They also found the case distinguishable from Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006).

“Unlike in Randolph, there is no indication that Walker explicitly refused consent. Thus, the trial court properly admitted the evidence discovered during the search, and we affirm the decision of the trial court,” Baker wrote.

 

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