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Seizure of man’s clothing from hospital not unconstitutional

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A detective’s seizure of a bag of clothing worn by a man who was shot – and later considered a suspect in a murder – and the admission of that clothing into evidence did not violate the man’s federal or state constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday.

Julian Tuggle was admitted to the hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. When police arrived to interview him about the shooting, he told them he was a victim of an armed robbery and shooting. The detective took Tuggle’s clothing that he wore when he was shot to the crime lab in accordance with police procedure.

But Tuggle was actually shot during a confrontation involving several men at an Indianapolis apartment complex that left one man dead. Tuggle later became a suspect in that murder, and police performed DNA testing after obtaining a warrant. He was tried, convicted and sentenced for murder.

Tuggle argued the trial court should not have admitting the clothing the police seized from the hospital room into evidence, which contained the blood of the murder victim. The Court of Appeals noted that the detective didn’t search or test the clothing until Tuggle became a suspect in the murder, and he obtained a warrant prior to conducting any testing.

In addition, securing the clothing that the detective believed could be evidence in finding Tuggle’s assailant imposed no intrusion on Tuggle’s three-week recovery in the hospital. The need of law enforcement to investigate what was an obvious crime was high, the judges noted. As such, they found no violations of Tuggle’s federal or state constitutional rights.

Tuggle lied to police about his involvement with the murder, and the victim’s blood was found on Tuggle’s jeans, shirt, socks and shoes. A jury could reasonably infer that Tuggle went to the victim’s residence, fought with him and assisted another man in shooting the victim. The judges declined to re-weigh the evidence in Julian Tuggle v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1308-CR-413, and affirmed the murder conviction.
 

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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