A person arrested for dealing methamphetamine in Adams County Indiana told a detective that she regularly purchased drugs from the defendant. The detective did not establish the source’s credibility or corroborate her statements when he obtained a search warrant. While searching the defendant’s trailer in Adams County, the police found eight switchblade knives, a bong, a butane torch, marijuana, a propane torch, two smoking pipes, a digital pocket balance, an aluminum teaspoon, charred aluminum foil, and plastic bags with the corners cut off.
The police arrested the defendant, but did not read him his Miranda Rights. The police did not have a warrant to search the defendant’s garage. At first, the defendant did not give consent, but later consented after the police told him they could apply for a warrant. An officer asked the defendant if there were guns inside the garage and the defendant told her she might find guns. The police found a 9mm pistol, sawed-off shotgun, and eleven bags (9.56 grams) of methamphetamine inside the garage.
The defendant moved to suppress the evidence seized during the search of his trailer and garage. Prior to trial, the court issued a standing order indicating a continuing objection to all of the evidence. A jury in the Adams Circuit Court found the defendant guilty of dealing in methamphetamine, a Class A Felony, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, a Class D Felony, eight counts of possession of a switchblade knife, all Class B Misdemeanors, possession of marijuana, a Class A Misdemeanor, and possession of paraphernalia, a Class A Misdemeanor. The defendant appealed.
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the defendant’s convictions for possession of a switchblade knife, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia. The Court held the search warrant lacked probable cause because it was based on hearsay statements and did not contain any reliable information establishing the source’s credibility. Additionally, the Court held that the source’s statements were not against her penal interest because she offered the information to receive leniency.
The Court upheld the defendant’s convictions for dealing in methamphetamine and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. The Court found that the defendant voluntarily consented to the search of his garage because the detective merely stated a warrant would be sought rather than obtained. Thus, the defendant’s consent to search his garage was voluntary and the evidence could be used against him. Finally, the Court held that the trial court properly suppressed the defendant’s statements about the location of the guns because the police did not give the defendant his Miranda Rights.
If you are under investigation for any criminal offense, it is important to exercise your right to remain silent, your right to an attorney, and your right against unreasonable search and seizure. It is not uncommon for people to consent to a search or to make damaging and incriminating statements in stressful situations. Gibson Law Office criminal defense attorneys in Fort Wayne and Lafayette can assist you by attacking evidence that was illegally obtained. If you are arrested in Adams County for possession of marijuana, methamphetamines, or other drugs, call our Fort Wayne office. We serve Berne and Adams County. We have the experience to strategically defend your case.