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Transfer granted to traffic-stop cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to three cases dealing with traffic stops.

In Thomas A. Armfield v. State of Indiana, No. 29A02-0802-CR-101, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Thomas Armfield's conviction of operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension, ruling the trial court didn't err in admitting evidence from a traffic stop during Armfield's trial. The police officer made the stop of Armfield's car based on a random license plate check revealing Armfield was the owner. Previous caselaw has ruled that knowledge that a registered owner of a car who has a suspended license is enough to constitute reasonable suspicion for an officer to initiate a traffic stop.

In Damen Holly v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0711-CR-930, the Court of Appeals overturned Damen Holly's drug conviction because the traffic stop that led to his arrest was unconstitutional. The appellate court ruled the officer who stopped the car Holly was driving didn't have reasonable suspicion there was criminal activity going on in the car. Holly was originally pulled over after the officer ran a license plate check of the car to show it was registered to a woman.

In Kail Fortson v. State of Indiana, No. 82A04-0801-CR-16, the appellate court reversed Fortson's conviction of receiving stolen property because the judges believed the circumstances of the case didn't support a reasonable inference Fortson had knowledge the car he was driving was stolen. Fortson was charged with receiving stolen property after police pulled over the car he was driving that matched the description and license plate number of a car reported stolen. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented based on the evidence that Fortson was found in possession of the truck about two miles away from where it was stolen just a few hours earlier. The jury that heard the case rejected his explanation that he borrowed the car, she wrote, and based on the totality of the circumstances, she would affirm his conviction.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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