7th Circuit affirms enough information available to issue warrant in Indianapolis handgun case

  • Print
Listen to this story

Subscriber Benefit

As a subscriber you can listen to articles at work, in the car, or while you work out. Subscribe Now
This audio file is brought to you by
Loading audio file, please wait.
  • 0.25
  • 0.50
  • 0.75
  • 1.00
  • 1.25
  • 1.50
  • 1.75
  • 2.00
IL file photo

Indianapolis police had probable cause for a search warrant in a July 2020 case that resulted in a man’s federal felon-in-possession of a handgun charge, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The court affirmed the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana’s ruling in favor of the government that enough information was available to issue a search warrant for a vehicle belonging to Darell Roland.

In the case, Indianapolis police responded to St. Vincent Hospital around 2:15 a.m. on July 9, 2020, after Robert Banks arrived there. Banks had been shot multiple times, according to the court.

Following conversations with Banks and his friend, Roland, officers looked in Roland’s Buick and saw blood and two handguns inside the vehicle.

A police sergeant then sought a warrant to search the Buick, which a Marion County judge granted.

The officers learned that the handguns belonged to Roland and that he had a prior conviction for robbery.

A federal charge followed under the felon-in-possession statute, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).

Roland pleaded guilty but reserved the right to appeal his challenge to the state court’s issuance of the search warrant, which he said was based on incomplete information.

The district court rejected the challenge, and the 7th Circuit affirmed.

In his search warrant application, an Indianapolis police sergeant sought permission to search for and seize a detailed list of firearms, firearm accessories, firearm parts, paperwork relating to the purchase or sale of firearms, spent cartridge casings, spent bullets, bullet fragments and live bullets.

The search warrant also asked for permission to seize documents showing ownership and/or other occupants of the vehicle, spent cartridge casings, spent bullets, bullet fragments, live bullets, DNA, trace evidence, latent prints, and photographs/video of the interior and exterior of the vehicle.

The police submitted the warrant application at 3:18 a.m., and a state court judge issued the warrant at 3:26 a.m.

A detective then searched Roland’s Buick. In addition to the blood and handguns visible through the window, the detective and an evidence technician found ammunition in a duffel bag and a loaded magazine in the armrest console.

After the search of the Buick, an officer drove Roland to the police station.

Roland waived his Miranda rights and agreed to an interview in which he explained the car, handguns and ammunition belonged to him. He also told police that he had two prior convictions — one for robbery and another for possessing cocaine.

Police confirmed Roland’s criminal history and then arrested him for possessing a firearm as a felon.

Roland moved to suppress the evidence seized from his Buick and his statements to an Indianapolis police detective. He contended not only that there was not probable cause to issue the warrant, but also that the warrant application omitted material information that would have negated probable cause.

Roland insisted police omitted six material facts from his warrant application:

  • Banks did not know his shooter.
  • Banks knew Roland.
  • Banks and Roland were friends.
  • Banks called Roland to get a ride to the hospital.
  • Roland picked up Banks.
  • Roland brought Banks to the hospital.

He saw those six facts as negating probable cause.

Judge Michael Scudder wrote that the issuing judge’s determination of probable cause did not hinge on whether, at the time police presented the warrant application, the police suspected Roland of shooting Banks.

“Roland may be right that the facts omitted from the warrant application, if accepted as true, exonerated him from that offense. But at the critical time — indeed, during the middle of the night — Banks was still in the hospital with gunshot wounds and Banks’s blood was still in Roland’s car along with two clearly visible handguns. Sergeant (Jordan) Lewis did not know whom the guns in the car belonged to, nor did he know whether those guns were the same guns that someone used to shoot Banks,” Scudder wrote, adding that was why the police sergeant specifically requested to be able to search for firearms, DNA and other evidence.

Scudder wrote there was a fair probability that such evidence would assist the police in investigating Banks’ shooting regardless of Roland’s own culpability.

The case is United States of America vs. Darell Roland, 22-1799.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}