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Statute on car window tint not void for vagueness

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The Howard County man who argued that the statute dealing with the tint of car windows is void for vagueness lost his appeal, so the drug evidence found on him during a traffic stop can be allowed at trial, the Court of Appeals ruled.

In Dezmon Gaines v. State of Indiana, 34A05-1201-CR-21, Dezmon Gaines faces charges of Class D felonies possession of cocaine, dealing in marijuana, and possession of marijuana. The car Gaines was riding in was stopped because it may have matched the description of a car associated with a missing woman. The police initiated the traffic stop based on illegally tinted windows.

When Kokomo police officer Bruce Rood approached the car, he was unable to tell how many people were inside until the window was rolled down. A strong odor of marijuana was coming from the car. Gaines was in the backseat and appeared to be chewing something. He was removed from the car and Rood placed a Tazer in the small of Gaines’ back and ordered him to spit out the object in his mouth or he would be tazed. The baggie contained a substance that looked like rock cocaine. Gaines also had marijuana in his pocket.

 Gaines tried to have the evidence suppressed, but the trial court denied it. On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed. The judges rejected Gaines’ claim that Indiana Code 9-19-19-4(c) is void for vagueness because it “does not state if identification of race, gender and number of passengers is sufficient or if window tinting must be such that every feature of every person can be seen.”

The statute does delineate a scientifically objective measurement for compliance, thereby precluding any arbitrariness or discriminatory enforcement by police, Judge Patricia Riley wrote. In addition, Rood testified that he couldn’t see through the windshield into the car.

There was also probable cause for the warrantless search of Gaines because officers believed that Gaines was attempting to swallow a narcotic or contraband when they initiated the traffic stop. Rood did not use unreasonable force by ordering Gaines to spit out the contraband under the threat of being tazed, the judges held. No physical force was used, there was no risk to Gaines physical safety and there was no intrusion on Gaines’ bodily integrity by uttering a threat, Riley wrote.

Judge Terry Crone concurred in result.



 

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  • Constitution
    Here we go again, laws against tinted windows violate people's 4th amendment rights! Simply put, everyone is not a drug dealer or drug user and laws used to control a minority that affects the majority are both unconstitutional and illegal WAKE UP AMERICA!

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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