Indiana Appeals Court: Concealed Carry Not A License To Be Searched

terraformer

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Interesting decision in Indiana. So long as the logic holds, this could start popping up elsewhere. They don't mention if the pot was under the seat or elsewhere but I suspect elsewhere. Good reasons to not "carry" under the seat.

PS: Let the eternal debate carry on but hopefully people will take more from this like the case hinged upon calm demeanor, no disrespect (which is different than just blindly kissing ass), etc. In the eyes of this judge at least, I think had he simply stated he was a CCW holder, and not answered the question directly or had he simply asked why he was pulled over, this judge would have supported that as also protected and not considered it argumentative.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/30/3072.asp
Indiana Appeals Court: Concealed Carry Not A License To Be Searched
Indiana Appeals Court ruled that police were wrong to handcuff and search motorist merely because he held a valid concealed handgun permit.

Police may not search a vehicle merely because its driver has been issued a valid concealed carry permit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday. A three-judge appellate panel weighed the actions of Indianapolis Police Officer Danny Reynolds who pulled over Melvin Washington for driving with a burned-out headlight on September 17, 2008 at 12:30am.

On that morning, Reynolds first asked Washington whether he had a gun, and Washington said he had one under his seat. Washington also carried a valid concealed carry permit. At this point, Reynolds ordered Washington out of the car and handcuffed him so that he could conduct a search under the seat of Washington's vehicle. Reynolds spotted a small bag of marijuana and issued Washington a court summons and a ticket for the defective headlight. Washington was then released with his handgun placed in the trunk of his vehicle, unloaded.

Washington moved to have the evidence against him suppressed because the warrantless search, he argued, violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. A lower court disagreed, insisting that "officer safety" justified the search. The court of appeals did not buy the safety argument.

"In the present case, prior to the search for the handgun, Officer Reynolds did not express any concerns for officer safety," Judge James S. Kirsch wrote for the majority. "Although Washington admitted that a handgun was present inside of the car, he was at all times totally cooperative with Officer Reynolds The testimony at the suppression hearing indicated that, during the traffic stop, Washington made no furtive movements, answered the officer's questions, and showed no disrespect to the officer. At the time he searched for the handgun, Officer Reynolds had no information that any crime or violation of law had been or was about to be committed, except for the inoperable headlight infraction. Further, at the suppression hearing, Officer Reynolds did not testify that he had any specific concern for officer safety during his traffic stop of Washington."

Because no legitimate safety exception to the Fourth Amendment applied in this case, the court ruled the search was improper. Judge Melissa S. May added in a concurring opinion that the majority's ruling created a subjective element -- cooperation -- that could serve as a loophole allowing searches. To solve this problem, May cited the US Supreme Court case Arizona v. Gant where a warrantless vehicle search was overturned because the suspect had no access to his car (view decision).

"While we are dealing here with a traffic stop, rather than an arrest, the fact remains that Washington, like Gant, was removed from his car and handcuffed," May wrote. "Accordingly, Washington's statement there was a gun under his seat simply could not justify a search of his car based on concern for officer safety."
 
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It's strange the way it works. Exercising the rights granted in one amendment (2a) is somehow used to negate another amendment's rights (4a).
 
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I don't see how the officer could have ever thought that he could make a case for a warrant-less search without a concern for his own safety. What the hell was he searching for legal weapons? Hope he gets fired and loses his pention not to mention the lawsuit he's opened himself up for.
 

terraformer

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I don't see how the officer could have ever thought that he could make a case for a warrant-less search without a concern for his own safety. What the hell was he searching for legal weapons? Hope he gets fired and loses his pention not to mention the lawsuit he's opened himself up for.

Lets say he claimed it was for his safety. Would he have to justify that claim? Assuming the claim was valid, would that still allow a full search of the vehicle?
 
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I don't see how the officer could have ever thought that he could make a case for a warrant-less search without a concern for his own safety. What the hell was he searching for legal weapons? Hope he gets fired and loses his pention not to mention the lawsuit he's opened himself up for.

You know that won't happen, his chief will just tell him next time to say he conducted the warrantless search for "his own safety".

I do agree with the previous post, it seems that the officer in question used the Mr. Washington's exercising of his 2A right to violate his 4A right, rather shady.
 

Friday

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this is an all-too common practice. There have been plenty of instances videotaped that show this abuse of rights. Police discover a driver carrying a knife, pocketknife or otherwise, and it is suddenly a full scale tear apart the car search, all in the name of safety.

I'm not against officer safety, just against abuses of 4a rights under a pretense of officer safety.
 
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I don't see how the officer could have ever thought that he could make a case for a warrant-less search without a concern for his own safety. What the hell was he searching for legal weapons? Hope he gets fired and loses his pention not to mention the lawsuit he's opened himself up for.

Agreed...sick n tired of hearing the "concerned for my safety" BS.
 
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Agreed...sick n tired of hearing the "concerned for my safety" BS.

Do it for the kittens.

cyclops_kitten.jpg
 
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Interesting decision in Indiana. So long as the logic holds, this could start popping up elsewhere. They don't mention if the pot was under the seat or elsewhere but I suspect elsewhere. Good reasons to not "carry" under the seat.

PS: Let the eternal debate carry on but hopefully people will take more from this like the case hinged upon calm demeanor, no disrespect (which is different than just blindly kissing ass), etc. In the eyes of this judge at least, I think had he simply stated he was a CCW holder, and not answered the question directly or had he simply asked why he was pulled over, this judge would have supported that as also protected and not considered it argumentative.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/30/3072.asp

Did I miss it? Did the driver consent to the search or as it appears, the officer used the very fact of the weapon to go digging?

I've never even asked to see the weapon when I've stopped a CCW holder. Even open carry doesn't really get my adrenaline going unless I've already plain viewed something then the gun.

This cop would have a heart attack in AZ, every third vehicle has a gun in it.
 

Serapis

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Hey, all that matters is the officer went home safely that night.

after all the rights he violated that he swore to uphold...



I am all for officer's safety, but there is a line that crossed way to much. Indiana got it right, and I hope others follow suit.
 
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Hope he gets fired and loses his pention not to mention the lawsuit he's opened himself up for.

Yes, the officers actions were wrong but lower court judges with the luxury of spending weeks to hear arguments and research the topic agreed with his actions. You cannot condemn an officers split second/ road side decision in a matter that is obviously not so clear cut that it had to go up to an appeals court to decide.

Yes, he was found to be wrong... but fired... loss of pension.... come on...[rolleyes]
 
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