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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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