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Suspect’s disheveled appearance, not GPS, led to drug discovery

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A suspect’s attempt to pull up his unbuckled and falling pants as he stepped from his car negated any taint on the evidence caused by local law enforcement placing a GPS on his vehicle.  

Dorian Gray Jackson was convicted for possession of a narcotic drug with the intent to deliver as a Class A felony, two counts of dealing in a narcotic drug as Class B felonies, and possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor. On appeal he challenged the admission of the evidence obtained at the traffic stop. He argued the baggies of heroin and marijuana constituted fruit of the poisonous tree because officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by installing and monitoring a GPS on his car without a warrant.

The state countered that evidence found was the result of a valid arrest and not because of the GPS. Even without the monitoring equipment, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department knew Jackson had conducted multiple heroin transactions and, once the car was pulled over, the detective recognized Jackson as the suspect in a drug investigation.

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed. In Dorian Gray Jackson v. State of Indiana, 20A05-1210-CR-572, the court affirmed Jackson’s convictions, noting that even if the sheriff relied on the GPS to illegally pinpoint Jackson’s location, that would not require exclusion of the evidence obtained at the traffic stop.

Instead, the intervening circumstances supported the state’s assertion that the drugs were discovered without the help of the GPS, the Court of Appeals stated. The sheriff’s detective initiated the traffic stop after Jackson turned his car onto an adjoining street without signaling 200 feet prior to the maneuver. Recognizing Jackson as the driver, the detective noticed the suspect’s belt was undone and his pants were hanging down and then became worried about a hidden weapon or contraband when the officer saw Jackson attempt to pull up his pants as he exited the car.  

“We conclude that the intervening circumstances, including the traffic infraction, the discovery of Jackson as the driver whom the police had probable cause to arrest, and the position of Jackson’s pants, were sufficient to dissipate any taint caused by the illegal reliance on the GPS device,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the court.
 

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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