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Three-way opinion affirms marijuana conviction

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Three Court of Appeals judges each wrote opinions but affirmed a Grant County man’s conviction of Class D felony possession of marijuana.

In Dontae M. Clark v. State of Indiana, 27A04-1306-CR-269, Clark argued that the court committed fundamental error when it admitted marijuana seized from him when he was searched on a street after police saw him purchase synthetic marijuana at a convenience store. The sample of marijuana seized was not analyzed, though, apparently because the sample was too small, Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the panel.

Panelists concurred that admitting into evidence what detectives confirmed as pot was not fundamental error. They likewise rejected Clark’s Fourth Amendment claim and his argument that the court abused its discretion when it permitted detectives to offer an opinion on the nature of the substance they found on Clark.

“In addition to Detectives Fleece’s and Sizemore’s testimony, there was other circumstantial evidence supporting a finding that Clark possessed illegal drugs," Bradford wrote. "The State produced sufficient evidence to sustain Clark’s conviction for marijuana possession.”

In a concurring opinion, Judge Paul Mathias wrote that because Clark failed to preserve the argument for appeal, “I believe it is unnecessary to address Clark’s evidentiary arguments on the merits.”

In a separate concurrence, Judge Rudy R. Pyle III wrote that efforts to prove the material was marijuana ran into a “roadblock” because Indiana State Police lab policy sets a minimum quantity for analysis.

“There is likely a rational reason behind the laboratory’s policy, but this type of administrative decision impacts prosecutors, defense counsel, judges, jurors, and defendants,” Pyle wrote. “For these reasons, I would respectfully submit that the laboratory’s policy decision be reconsidered by our colleagues in the executive branch.”
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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