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Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Ind. Courts - "Supreme Court to decide limits of police searches"

Updating this post from yesterday, Dan Carden of the NWI Times reports that:

A Court of Appeals victory for Hoosiers who believe police power to search individuals is limited has been vacated by the Indiana Supreme Court, which will independently re-examine the issue.

The high court announced Monday it granted transfer in Garcia v. State [now vacated], a case that hinges on whether a police officer legally can open a pill container found in the pocket of a person who is under arrest.

In February, the Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Indianapolis police violated the state constitutional rights of Antonio Garcia when an officer opened the container and found half of a narcotic pain relief pill that ultimately was used as evidence to convict Garcia for possession of a controlled substance. * * *

The appeals court said that under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution police are empowered to open and search items, such as pill containers, following an arrest.

However, the court noted the Indiana Constitution provides Hoosiers protections from police searches that are more extensive than the Fourth Amendment, and requires the state show any police intrusion into private property is reasonable.

In this case, there was no evidence the small container found in Garcia's pocket threatened police officer safety or held illegal substances, making its opening and search by police unconstitutional, the Court of Appeals ruled in overturning Garcia's conviction.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 2, 2015 01:05 PM
Posted to Indiana Transfer Lists