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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides two today

In Joanna S. Robinson v. State of Indiana, a 12-page, 4-1 opinion, Justice Massa writes:

As the two companion appeals we resolve today vividly illustrate, sometimes standards of review decide cases.1 In the instant case, the trial court found law enforcement had reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop and admitted the resulting evidence; in State v. Keck, No. 67S01-1403-CR-179 (Ind. Mar. 25, 2014), the trial court reached the opposite conclusion. We affirm both trial courts and decline appellants’ invitation to invade the fact-finder’s province. * * *

Dickson, C.J., and David and Rush, JJ., concur.
Rucker, J., dissents with separate opinion. [which begins, at p. 11] In a compelling and persuasive opinion the Court of Appeals determined that evidence seized after a traffic stop should not have been admitted into evidence. The majority takes issue with this determination. But in my view the Court of Appeals got it exactly right. * * *

The trial court’s order thus makes plain the basis on which it found reasonable suspicion, namely: Robinson’s acts of making contact with the fog line. I agree with the Court of Appeals that more is required. Sustaining the trial court’s finding of reasonable suspicion on the basis that the court could have credited the officer’s testimony that Robinson drove “[c]ompletely off the roadway,” Tr. at 48, amounts to reweighing the evidence, which we are not permitted to do.9

In State of Indiana v. Darrell L. Keck, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Massa writes:
In this case, the second of two companion cases we decide today, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence against him on the ground the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop. We affirm. * * *

Thus, the trial court was correct to grant Keck’s motion to suppress the evidence against him. And as we resolve the case on this basis, we need consider neither Keck’s state constitutional claim nor his separate argument that Deputy Smith had no probable cause to arrest him.

We therefore affirm the trial court’s grant of Keck’s motion to suppress.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 25, 2014 01:23 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions