State Supreme Court lets decision on case heard at M'ville High stand

2013-06-11T17:49:00Z 2013-06-11T23:44:08Z State Supreme Court lets decision on case heard at M'ville High standBy Dan Carden, (317) 637-9078

INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Supreme Court will not decide a case it heard last month at Merrillville High School.

More than 400 students from nearly a dozen region high schools attended oral arguments in the case looking at whether a telephone tip gave Fort Wayne police enough evidence of criminal activity to initiate an investigatory stop of a man sitting in parked vehicle at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.

When police ordered Phillip Billingsley from his vehicle they found 229.7 grams of marijuana in the front seat.

Billingsley argued the telephone tip was not specific enough to constitute reasonable suspicion for police to stop him and search his car.

The state's high court, in an order dated May 29, rescinded its decision to consider Billingsley v. State. That restores the 2-1 ruling of the Indiana Court of Appeals permitting the marijuana to be used as evidence against Billingsley.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart native, said the Supreme Court determined after reviewing the court record, hearing attorney arguments and discussing the case among the five justices that the appeals court ruling should be the final decision.

Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, dissented from the high court's order and said he believed Billingsley's conviction should be overturned.

This is the ninth case since July where the Supreme Court, after hearing oral arguments, opted to let the appeals court decision stand rather than issue its ruling. There were eight such cases during the 2012 budget year.

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