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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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