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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. 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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