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  • Search of man’s mouth ruled unconstitutional

    first_imgby Marilyn Odendahl for www.theindianalawyer.comThe Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned a man’s conviction, ruling the drugs found in his mouth should be excluded under the “fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.”Will Thomas appealed his conviction for dealing in a narcotic drug as a Class A felony on the grounds that police lacked the probable cause to arrest, detain, move and search him after a traffic stop in Grant County.Thomas was the passenger in a van pulled over by local law enforcement. A search of the van by a drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of narcotics but officers did not find any controlled substances after they conducted a pat-down search of Thomas and the driver.The driver then consented to a strip search but Thomas declined. He was taken to the Marion Police Department and while waiting in the interview room, was observed taking something from his pocket and putting it into his mouth.Police forced his mouth open and found a small plastic baggie with 8.5 grams of heroin.Before the Court of Appeals, Thomas argued the heroin should not have been admitted as evidence at trial because the police did not have probable cause to detain him or take him to the police station. The officers did not find narcotics in the vehicle so the decision to arrest and transport him for a strip search was unreasonable.However, the state countered Thomas’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated. The dog sniff gave the police probable cause to search the vehicle as well as detain and take Thomas to the station.Noting there is no Indiana precedent for these circumstances, the Court of Appeals relied on decisions from Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina. There the court found probable cause is particularized to the premises, vehicle or person to be searched.Although the traffic stop and search of the vehicle were constitutional, the dog sniff did not provide any information about Thomas or the driver. The court held that the police engaged in a process of elimination by reasoning the drugs must be on either the driver or Thomas since nothing was found in the vehicle.“Here, there was no contraband in the vehicle, and under circumstances like these the probable cause arising from a drug dog’s alert to a larger area like a car does not permit a fishing expedition into the pockets of each of the car’s occupants,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in Will Thomas v. State of Indiana, 27A02-1602-CR-374.Finding the police had no probable cause to detain Thomas, the Court of Appeals held his detention and transportation was unconstitutional. “The drugs obtained from him after he had been transported were thus ‘fruit of the poisonous tree,’ and should have been excluded from evidence at trial,” Bailey wrote.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

  • Colombian Defense Minister Reaffirms Fight Against FARC

    first_img Speaking in Brasilia, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón reaffirmed the military fight against the FARC, in response to the truce proposed by a Colombian civilian group on January 17, and dismissed the possibility of international help in a potential release of hostages held by that guerrilla group. Pinzón said that he was not familiar with the proposal for a three-month ceasefire formulated by the Colombians for Peace (CCP) movement, but he indicated that the administration will continue to combat the rebels as long as they persist in their armed activity. “So long as there are armed groups that engage in attacks against the Colombian people (…), the only thing that they’re going to find is absolute firmness and determination on the part of the administration and government forces to contain them and act with determination against them,” Pinzón stated at a press conference. Pinzón met with his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, to discuss cooperation agreements in the area of border security and the purchase of military planes and boats. The Colombian official also alluded to the FARC’s announcement that it will release six uniformed personnel in its power, and he dismissed the possibility of international participation in an operation to turn over the hostages. Minister Pinzón added that the Colombian government has all the necessary logistical support available to “bring the hostages safely and soundly to their families,” while expressing his gratitude for “Brazil’s readiness” in the past to cooperate in hostage releases. On January 17, Colombians for Peace sent open letters to the government and to the FARC and the ELN, both leftist guerrilla groups, with their proposal for a truce to facilitate peace talks between the parties. By Dialogo January 19, 2012last_img read more

  • Operation Christmas Child Recipient Tells His Story of Receiving Shoebox

    first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisOver the years, many Alpena residents have participated in Operation Christmas Child. The global project shares the joy and meaning of Christmas with millions of boys and girls through one thing, a shoebox.Back in 1992 shoeboxes were sent to Uganda, one of those boxes landed in the hands of an 8-year-old boy named Bonny Kibuuka. Now 26-years-old Kibuuka is sharing his story.Items placed in the shoebox speaks to each child in different ways. The Alpena area packed over 2,500 shoeboxes last year. The boxes traveled to Madagascar and back to Uganda. Operation Christmas Child only serves ages 2 to 14 and the reason why is devastating, and that’s why Kibuuka encourages volunteers.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Thomas Stafford Dog Park officially open in downtownNext ‘We have a good time’ at Labor Day Show in Tawaslast_img read more