COA withdraws footnote, reaffirms order for state to return seized currency

The Indiana Court of Appeals has reaffirmed its decision ordering the state to return $30,000 in seized currency after granting rehearing Friday for the limited purpose of withdrawing a footnote.

Specifically, the appellate court agreed to withdraw footnote three in the original August opinion in the case of Robert Bowman, Tommy Maurry, and Jacob Murphy, et al, v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1606-MI-1463. In that opinion, the judges reversed an order allowing the state to keep $30,300 found in a package that caused a K-9 office to positively alert to the presence of drugs. Judge John Baker, writing for the unanimous court, said there was not enough evidence to reasonably concluded the money was the “proceeds of drug trafficking.”

In the now-omitted footnote, Baker had written that “it is well accepted that a great majority of United States currency…is contaminated by drug residue, leading us to place even less credence on a positive alert from a K-9 unit alone with absolutely no other evidence suggesting drug trafficking.” The appellate judges do not explain the reason for their decision to withdraw the footnote in their Friday opinion on rehearing. However, Baker noted that footnote did not affect the court’s original analysis or holding, so the judges denied the petition for rehearing in all other respects.

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