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Teen's Fourth Amendment rights not violated

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Debating in a footnote whether a juvenile's argument that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated was subject to a Terry stop analysis, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided to apply the Terry analysis to his case. The appellate court affirmed his adjudication of committing Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement if committed by an adult.

In the case In re: J.D. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0808-JV-490, J.D. appealed the finding he committed resisting law enforcement after he ran away from police. J.D. was on a front porch of a house with other minors and there were open and empty containers of alcohol on the porch. Police, who came to the house after seeing J.D. and another juvenile head toward it, saw a few empty beer cans sitting near J.D. The police told everyone to sit down and they would be given breath tests. J.D. ran away, struggled with police and had to be tasered before complying.

J.D. argued the juvenile court erred in admitting evidence about what happened that night because it flowed from his seizure, which he claims violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment and the Indiana Constitution.

In analyzing his Fourth Amendment claim, the appellate judges debated whether Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), or State v. Atkins, 834 N.E.2d 1028, 1032 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), which cited Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 123 120 S.Ct.673, 145 L.Ed.2d 570 (2000), applied to J.D.'s case. Atkins ruled the Terry stop and frisk rule applied only to a brief encounter with a citizen and a police officer on a public street. Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote the Atkins case may have too literally read from Wardlow that that a Terry stop only applies under the stated circumstances of that case: when a citizen encounters a police officer and the encounter happens on a public street.

The judge continued in the footnote that the appellate court need not decide whether it agrees with this aspect of Atkins because J.D. doesn't argue that the Terry analysis doesn't apply in this situation. He just argues that the "reasonable suspicion" element isn't satisfied. As such, the Court of Appeals applied the Terry analysis to J.D.'s case.

The police saw minors sitting on a porch with empty cans of alcohol and even though police didn't see J.D. drink the beer, the fact he was near the empty cans and that he is a minor is sufficient to cause an ordinarily prudent person to believe criminal activity had happened or was about to happen, wrote Judge Friedlander. Considering the totality of the circumstances, there was reasonable suspicion and J.D.'s detention didn't violate Fourth Amendment principles or Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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