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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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  1. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  2. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  3. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  4. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

  5. No, Ron Drake is not running against incumbent Larry Bucshon. That’s totally wrong; and destructively misleading to say anything like that. All political candidates, including me in the 8th district, are facing voters, not incumbents. You should not firewall away any of voters’ options. We need them all now more than ever. Right? Y’all have for decades given the Ds and Rs free 24/7/365 coverage of taxpayer-supported promotion at the expense of all alternatives. That’s plenty of head-start, money-in-the-pocket advantage for parties and people that don’t need any more free immunities, powers, privileges and money denied all others. Now it’s time to play fair and let voters know that there are, in fact, options. Much, much better, and not-corrupt options. Liberty or Bust! Andy Horning Libertarian for IN08 USA House of Representatives Freedom, Indiana

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