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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. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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