ILNews

Police had reasonable suspicion to stop men, search bag

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The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed with an appellant who claimed police did not have reasonable suspicion to believe he and two other men were involved in criminal activity, which led to their stop and his eventual conviction of Class A felony attempted dealing in methamphetamine.

Robert Dunlap called police in August 2011 after he believed someone was living in one of the storage units he owned in Elkhart County. Sergeant Michael McHenry and Officer Dustin Lundgren responded and saw three men, including Kevin Clark, leaving the storage unit. Clark was carrying a duffel bag. Police ordered the men to stop, and Clark sat the bag on the ground.

McHenry asked if Clark had anything illegal in the bag; he admitted that it contained marijuana. McHenry then searched the bag without a warrant or Clark’s consent and found the drug, baggies of methamphetamine, pills and other paraphernalia. This led to a search of Clark’s car by a drug-sniffing dog. Police found marijuana in the car and an inactive methamphetamine lab inside the trunk. Trooper Maggie Shortt processed the lab.

Clark claimed police didn’t have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity as afoot at the storage unit, but the judges pointed out Dunlap called police because he thought a rental agreement was being violated by someone living in the unit. That report gave officers reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, which justified stopping Clark, Judge Melissa May wrote in Kevin M. Clark v. State of Indiana, 20A05-1202-CR-62.

Clark admitted he had marijuana in the bag, which gave McHenry probable cause to search it. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in admitting the items found in it.

The judges also upheld Shortt’s testimony as to how much methamphetamine Clark possessed. She testified as to the conversion ration of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine. Her testimony was opinion testimony of a lay person based on her experience, not expert testimony, May wrote. Her testimony could reasonably assist the jury in deciding whether Clark possessed the component to produce more than three grams of methamphetamine, the threshold needed to convict him of the Class A felony charge.

 

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  • No probable cause
    This story is incomplete, were the men there illrgally or had the rented the unit which if so means that they were there illegally and the police had no business there in the first place and they should have inquired of this fact from the caller.

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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