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Reasonable suspicion needed to search home detention participant’s residence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the suppression of evidence found at a Tippecanoe County home by community corrections officers, finding the roommate of the man on home detention had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Tippecanoe County Community Corrections officers conducted a search of Jordan Sullivan’s home and found drugs in the bedroom of his roommate Brishen Vanderkolk. Sullivan signed a form before participating in home detention that allowed searches and seizures by TCCC, law enforcement or the court of his person, his property and his vehicle at any time.

In December 2012, when Vanderkolk was not at home, TCCC officers went to Sullivan’s residence and searched it. After smelling drugs, they did a protective sweep of the home, leading to the discovery of contraband from several rooms in the house, including Vanderkolk’s bedroom.

He filed a motion to suppress, which was granted by the trial court. At the suppression hearing, a TCCC officer testified that Sullivan’s residence was searched to ensure his compliance with the program, not because of any suspicion of illegal or improper activity.

Vanderkolk had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the residence because he lived there, so he may challenge the search on Fourth Amendment grounds, the divided Court of Appeals ruled in State of Indiana v. Brishen R. Vanderkolk, 79A04-1308-CR-407.

It is clear based on caselaw that reasonable suspicion must support a warrantless search of a probationer, or as in the instant case, a community corrections participant.

“The evidence at Vanderkolk’s suppression hearing showed that the TCCC officers believed Sullivan’s waiver justified suspicionless searches merely to ensure compliance. But the special need of supervising community corrections participants, while dispensing with probable cause, still required reasonable suspicion that evidence of Sullivan’s noncompliance would be found.,” Senior Judge Betty Barteau wrote in the majority opinion.

Judge L. Mark Bailey concurred in result in a separate opinion, and Judge James Kirsch dissented without opinion.  

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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