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Photos admissible when evidence has been destroyed

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In an appeal from a man convicted of Class B dealing in methamphetamine and Class B misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that photos of a methamphetamine lab were admissible because the physical evidence had been destroyed.

In Jason Jones v. State of Indiana, No. 34A05-1101-CR-66, Jason Jones argued that because officers failed to comply with Indiana Code 35-33-5-5 subsections (e), (f) and (g), certain photographic and testimonial evidence should not have been admitted into evidence.

Kokomo police arrested Jones as he attempted to leave a house where police were serving a search warrant. During the search, police found evidence of methamphetamine production.

 Before trial, law enforcement officers used a Hazmat team to destroy some of the chemicals and chemically contaminated materials found in the home’s garage. At trial, Jones moved to exclude evidence of any item not received by him in discovery, claiming that law enforcement officers had failed to comply with Indiana Code 35-33-5-5, which governs the disposition of property held as evidence and authorizes law enforcement to destroy chemicals, controlled substances and chemically contaminated equipment associated with the manufacture of drugs.

However, citing Arizona v. Youngblood, 488 U.S. 51, 58 (1988), the appeals court held the state does not have “an undifferentiated and absolute duty to retain and preserve all material that might be of conceivable evidentiary significance in a particular prosecution.” The COA wrote that in the context of hazardous chemicals and materials, tension arises between the practical need for destruction and the threat of prejudice to the substantial rights of a criminal defendant, which necessarily occurs when evidence is destroyed.

Jones also objected to Kokomo Police Officer Jim Nielson’s testimony regarding the “one-pot” method of methamphetamine production. The COA held that Nielson’s training and experience qualified him as a skilled witness, and therefore the court did not err in allowing his testimony about the one-pot reaction method.

Jones also objected to the court’s denial of his motion for a continuance, but because that argument was raised for the first time on appeal, he has waived the issue, the court held.

 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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