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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court to hear Michigan City police eavesdropping case

The Supreme Court's grant of transfer in the case of State of Indiana v. Brian J. Taylor, announced yesterday, is the subject of a story today by Dan Carden in the NWI Times. Some quotes:

The Indiana Supreme Court will try to sort out the legal mess caused by several Michigan City police officers who listened in on a private conversation between a murder suspect and his attorney.

At issue is whether LaPorte Superior Judge Kathleen Lang exceeded her authority by barring all trial testimony from the officers after they invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in connection with the eavesdropping.

In June, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Lang properly excluded the gun police discovered after listening in, but said she went too far in prohibiting the officers from testifying about aspects of their investigation that uncovered other allegedly incriminating evidence.

The high court's decision to hear the case, announced Monday, automatically vacates the appellate court ruling. The five Supreme Court justices likely will hear oral arguments in a few months and issue their decision next year. * * *

According to court records, Taylor and his attorney, David Payne, discussed "all aspects of both the case and his defense" following Taylor's arrest in what they were told was a private room at the Michigan City police department.

Unbeknownst to them, several police officers and LaPorte County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Neary were able to hear parts of the conversation from a nearby room, where "crucial information regarding Taylor's guilt was heard by law enforcement personnel," the appeals court noted.

A special prosecutor cleared Neary and the officers of criminal wrongdoing on Dec. 24 because she found there was no evidence proving an intent to eavesdrop.

The Times story today includes links to four earlier Times stories with these headlines:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 22, 2015 08:53 AM
Posted to Indiana Transfer Lists