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Transfer granted to out-of-state warrant case

May 29, 2009

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday in a case involving an arrest in Indiana with an invalid Alabama warrant.

In David A. Shotts v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0808-CR-400, the Court of Appeals reversed David Shotts' conviction of carrying a handgun without a license with a prior felony, ruling the Alabama warrant used to arrest him was invalid pursuant to the Fourth Amendment and Indiana Constitution. The warrant didn't provide any facts from which a neutral magistrate could have drawn his own conclusion as to the existence of probable cause and the Alabama affiant merely alleged Shotts had committed a crime.

The appellate court also ruled the good faith exception isn't applicable to the evidence seized during Shotts' arrest. The state argued because Indiana officers executed the arrest warrant without actually seeing it, they can't be charged with knowledge of any defects and thus must have acted in good faith. But because the Alabama officer who obtained the warrant in the first place should have known his testimony was insufficient to support a probable cause determination, his actions preclude the good faith exception from applying in this case, the judges ruled.

"To the extent that the U.S. Supreme Court is limiting the viability of the exclusionary rule pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, we are not convinced that our supreme court will follow suit and diminish safeguards historically recognized pursuant to Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution," wrote Judge Terry Crone.

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