One key aspect of the American legal system is the prohibition against warrantless searches of your home. As you may know, police officers cannot search your home without first obtaining a search warrant. This embodies the English common law notion and societal view that your home is a special place—your castle—and should only be subject to search under a high legal standard. But what happens if a police officer does not first obtain a search warrant? Or searches the wrong house? The general rule is that any evidence of criminal activity obtained by the illegal search is “fruit of the ...
October 11, 2018CD
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, a decision1 was handed down by the Indiana Court of Appeals that is poised to dramatically increase the number of drug charges and convictions. This is alarming since the headlines of Indiana’s news stories continually recount the State’s “opioid crisis”. At the same time, statistics reflect county jails and Indiana’s prisons are “full” of inmates with drug convictions, at a significant burden to the taxpayer. This stands in contrast with compelling arguments and scientific evidence that other than stopping violence, drug issues are best dealt within the mental health system--not the penal system. Before this ...
August 9, 2018CD
In Indiana, and in virtually all other courts across the United States, attorneys and judges have “wrestled” with evidentiary issues surrounding social media (is it admissible?) in all sorts of ways in civil and criminal cases: How do you authenticate something is actually real (versus fabricated) in cyberspace, never existing in a tangible form? Many of these questions have been addressed by trial and appellate courts. Now Facebook posts are routinely authenticated and used in civil and criminal courts; some courts have even allowed a spouse to a divorce to serve divorce papers by Facebook. Unlike most other forms of social ...
July 30, 2018CD
Searches of Your Home and Suppression of Illegally Obtained Evidence Every citizen is protected from unlawful searches and seizures of his or her person or property by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This strikes the balance between individual freedom and the needs of law enforcement to protect society as a whole. Where most of us encounter the Fourth Amendment is with a police traffic stop. About everyone has been pulled over for speeding and received a warning or ticket. This blog covers what you need to know about traffic stops and suppression of evidence obtained from an illegal traffic ...
February 15, 2018CD
Marriages fail for many reasons. There are no longer fault-based divorces in America. This means that a spouse no longer has to prove “fault” such as adultery—an affair--to obtain a divorce. This is a different legal concept than “waste”—when a spouse uses assets and monies to support illicit or illegal acts that reduce the amount the trial court has to divide in a divorce. The presumption is an equal division on divorce. This blog post introduces the complex legal analysis that may ensue with marital waste. However, many illicit and illegal acts, such as gambling, may explain why a spouse has ...
November 6, 2017CD