ILNews

Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

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The state's highest court has agreed to hear a case dealing with Indiana's habitual offender statute and another case involving the requirements for a cheek-swab DNA test.

In Andre Syval Peoples v. State of Indiana, No. 79S02-0912-CR-549, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded a trial court was correct in interpreting the habitual offender statute to include Andre People's instant conviction of Class B felony dealing in cocaine as one of the "unrelated" convictions referred to in the statute. Peoples pleaded guilty to the dealing charge and had two prior felony convictions in Illinois - forgery and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Peoples argued the habitual offender enhancement can't be attached to his instant conviction under Indiana Code Section 35-50-2-8(b)(3) of the habitual offender statute because his instant conviction is a drug offense, satisfying subsection (b)(3)(A). Also, he argued his number of priors for dealing doesn't exceed one, which satisfies subsection (b)(3)(C)(i)-(v) of the statute.

The judges agreed with the state's argument that the statute isn't limited to only prior convictions but requires the summation of the total number of unrelated convictions a defendant has gotten for dealing drugs. The absence of the word "prior" from those two subsections reflects legislative intent to include the instant conviction as one of the "unrelated" convictions referred to in those subsections, the appellate court ruled.

In Arturo Garcia-Torres v. State of Indiana, No. 64S03-0912-CR-550, the Court of Appeals split in its ruling that taking a cheek swab for DNA testing requires only reasonable suspicion, not probable cause, under the federal and state constitutions. The majority determined police didn't need a warrant before obtaining the cheek swab for Arturo Garcia-Torres, who was later convicted of rape, burglary, and attempted rape in the attacks of two college students, because they had reasonable suspicion he committed them.

The majority also reasoned that getting the cheek swab involves much less impact on the subject than some other searches that may be conducted on mere reasonable suspicion.

Judge Terry Crone argued in his dissent that taking the swab from a custodial suspect requires probable cause under the Fourth Amendment and is subject to the advice-of-counsel requirements of Pirtle v. State, 263 Ind. 16, 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975).

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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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