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Friday, January 06, 2017

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 0 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In Mario Deon Watkins v. State of Indiana, a 24-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Brown writes:

Mario Deon Watkins appeals his convictions for two counts of possession of a controlled substance as class A misdemeanors, possession of cocaine as a level 6 felony, possession of marijuana as a class B misdemeanor, and maintaining a common nuisance as a level 6 felony. Watkins raises two issues, one of which we find dispositive and which we revise and restate as whether the court abused its discretion or erred in admitting evidence discovered as a result of a search. We reverse. * * *

Comparing the factors, we conclude that while there was a considerable degree of suspicion, the extent of law enforcement needs for a military-style assault was low and the degree of intrusion was unreasonably high. Under these specific circumstances and particularly in light of the use of a flash bang grenade in the same room as a nine-month old baby who was “very close” to where the flash bang was deployed, the State has not demonstrated that the police conduct was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. We conclude that the search violated Watkins’s rights under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution and that the trial court erred in admitting the evidence discovered as a result of the search.

To the extent the State suggests that we adopt the inevitable discovery exception as a matter of Indiana constitutional law, we observe that under the Fourth Amendment, the inevitable discovery exception to the exclusionary rule “permits the introduction of evidence that eventually would have been located had there been no error, for [in] that instance ‘there is no nexus sufficient to provide a taint.’” However, the inevitable discovery exception has not been adopted as a matter of Indiana constitutional law. Ammons v. State, 770 N.E.2d 927, 935 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), trans. denied. The Indiana Supreme Court has held that “our state constitution mandates that the evidence found as a result of [an unconstitutional] search be suppressed.” Despite the State’s request, we are not inclined to adopt the inevitable discovery rule as part of Indiana constitutional law in light of the Indiana Supreme Court’s firm language. [ILB: citations omitted]

For the foregoing reasons, we reverse Watkins’s convictions. * * *

Baker, J., concurs.
May, J., dissents with separate opinion. [that begins, at p. 22] Unlike my colleagues, I would hold the search of Watkins’ residence was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. I therefore respectfully dissent.

NFP civil decisions today (0):

NFP criminal decisions today (0):

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 6, 2017 01:16 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions