Charges dismissed against Cloverdale man

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Drug and weapons charges against a Cloverdale man have been dismissed by the state after the man's attorney contended his client was arrested unlawfully.

Randy Aaron Sawyer, 22, was arrested Sept. 22 during a traffic stop. During the stop, his vehicle was searched, and when Sawyer was placed under arrest the vehicle was impounded.

Court documents said Sawyer was initially stopped on I-70 because an officer noticed Sawyer was traveling "well below the posted speed limit of 70 mph" and that the windshield of the vehicle he was driving was cracked in several places.

When he was stopped, Sawyer produced a valid driver's license and registration for the vehicle, but the proof of insurance he had was expired. Putnam County Sheriff's Department Lt. Dwight Simmons, who had stopped Sawyer, initially detained Sawyer for not having proof of current insurance.

Simmons placed Sawyer in the back of Simmon's police cruiser and proceeded to search Sawyer's vehicle. That search turned up an unlicensed handgun, scales with residue on them that tested positive for methamphetamine and what Simmons suspected was a cutting agent for diluting controlled substances -- and led to Sawyer being placed under arrest.

Sawyer was charged with possession of methamphetamine and carrying a handgun without a license, both Class C felonies punishable by up to eight years in prison. The state also sought to have Sawyer deemed a habitual offender.

Sawyer's lawyer, James Hullen Holder Jr. of Bainbridge, argued at a Jan. 22 suppression hearing in Putnam County Circuit Court that under Indiana law, having no proof of insurance in a vehicle is an infraction, and that Simmons had no right to impound Sawyer's vehicle or search it. The next step, Holder said, should have been a citation and a court date for Sawyer during which he would have been required to produce proof of insurance.

Holder's motion to suppress was granted on Feb. 3. The state filed a dismissal on Feb. 9, and that order was issued on Feb. 10. Sawyer was released from jail on Feb. 13.

Sawyer was on parole through the Terre Haute Parole District when he was arrested in Putnam County. He was released from Putnam County on his own recognizance on Sept. 23, but remained in jail on a parole hold.

Sawyer has done prison time for a number of offenses, including possession of cocaine or narcotic drugs, possession of chemical reagents or precursors and forgery.

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  • Model Citizen

    -- Posted by mad-mom on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 4:56 AM
  • Model Citizen "nope" Model cop "nope

    That is what happens when you have an overzealous cop. And a person with a good attorney . Go Jim

    -- Posted by The-crazy-dog-lady on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 6:26 AM
  • ohh LESSONS Learned:)

    -- Posted by Reader2 on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 7:43 AM
  • "The crazy dog lady"...I'm not sure about the dog, but it sounds like the other part is accurate.

    Go Jim??????....

    You are congratulating someone for putting trash like this back on our streets over a technicality. No wonder Greencastle is in the shape that it is. You should run for office!

    -- Posted by gc_citizen on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 11:03 AM
  • We all believe the bad guys should follow the law. Why are so many people willing to overlook it when a cop doesn't follow the law?

    It is the cops who don't follow the law that usually end up being the cause of the "bad guys walking".

    -- Posted by AnnieO on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 2:04 PM
  • Sooo, Does he get his gun back?

    -- Posted by Xgamer on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 7:08 PM
  • profiling is alive and well in pc, you go deputy!

    what's next impound my vehicle for crossing the yellow parking line in walmart parking lot, oh but you go deputy!

    what i'm trying to say is that deputy needs to go!

    -- Posted by gottokno on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 7:55 PM
  • shows u how are court system is u find meth and the guy gets free

    -- Posted by bigpapa on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 8:35 PM
  • to gottokno u say let the deputy go, for doing his job, deputy gets a meth head off the streets an behind the wheel, let the deputy go are u kidding. what if that meth head crashed and killed some one or even your family, i bet u would be in court fighting to put him in prison right. its called justice get over it

    -- Posted by bigpapa on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 9:40 PM

    -- Posted by Buck_Hunter_2008 on Sun, Feb 22, 2009, at 5:55 PM
  • If the deputy would have followed procedures, basically he would have had to let him go on the infraction. No search. All you complaining whinos would never had known of this incident. Personally, I dont mind paying some extra tax money in this case, if the man didnt have such a good lawyer, he might have been kept off the streets for a while. Unfortunately he did and he was lucky ...this time. Obviously, he will be caught again with his history and hopefully our fine serving deputies can get him then.

    -- Posted by momto3 on Mon, Feb 23, 2009, at 10:58 AM
  • The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. The officer must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to conduct a search of the vehicle. Failure to have proof of insurance is not a criminal activity. I to have been subject to this type of unlawful activity by the GPD, PCS and Cloverdale. Park in front of any of the bars in Greencastle and leave when they close and drive past the gas stations on 231. Burnt out license plate light, crossed the white line on Veterens highway, driving to slow ( 35 in a 40). I once was a desinated driver for a group of people who went to a bar for a party, they closed the bar and as we where loading up into the van, one of GPD finest went by, needless to say they where on me the minute I got on 231 and headed toward the park. I was pulled over by the pool for a inopt license plate light. I produced my license, registration and proof of insurance, spent 15 minutes while he ran everyones ID and then we were let go. Of course I couldn't get out of my vehicle to look at this light while the officer was there, but it all of a sudden started working when I stopped at the store to go get a new bulb. Cloverdale was another favorite, this time it was just me. I was pulled for driving over the white line where it goes from one lane to two, it was late and the car I was driving has a very long front end, made it hard for me to judge the edge of the road. I provided all my documents, do the field test and breath anylizer and I come up clean, I hadn't been drinking. Then he asked to look in my vehicle and I told him no. So I get to sit in the patrol car for over an hour, closer to two waiting on a K9 unit to come and do a walk around my vehicle. The whole time the officer is asking for my permission, which I continued to deny. Once K9 gets there and walks around the officer lets me go ( no ticket either). To this day I don't know for certain why I was treated this way, but I think I do. I gave a friend of a friend a ride to a gas station that day. I found out later that he was into drugs.

    We have to stand up for our rights least they be taken away. If a crook\druggie gets away because some officer abused our\thier rights then shame on the officer.

    -- Posted by bradsdad on Mon, Feb 23, 2009, at 4:16 PM
  • Do you people not realize that the Judge in this case just screwed you all!? He just let a convicted doper who is still using back out on the streets. Lets see he had drugs and a gun, WOW!!! You people really amaze me!!! I can't wait to hear all the whining when this idiot gets in trouble again for killing someone either by vehicle, gun or selling his drugs. You won't be so negative against the Officer who arrests him then will you, especially if it's your family member. Better hope it's a different Judge he goes in front of then, maybe one that knows the law a little better.

    This Deputy did his job and did it correctly. I believe the procedure in any impound is to search the car and log the items found inside. So was the Deputy just supose to let the doper walk free after finding the drugs and the gun? Oh well, I have faith that he will be caught again, just hope it's before he kills someone with his stupidity!!! So You Go Deputy and Thanks for all you do!!!

    -- Posted by Road Dawg on Tue, Feb 24, 2009, at 12:38 AM
  • I don't understand why people are defending this guy when he is on our streets with a gun and drugs. He could be targeting you next. This guy has a record for previous drug violations. I would like to know if he had insurance or not. People like him make my insurance rates go up. Come on people, when and officer runs someones license, their past is there to haunt them. I would sure hope that if an officer pulled someone over for being suspicious and found out they are on parole for drugs and other various charges, they have the right to search, after all they are on parole, and the last time I checked, they have rules to go by. Stop putting down the officers that are trying to make our town and cities safe for our children.

    -- Posted by RDALERESIDENT on Tue, Feb 24, 2009, at 8:46 AM
  • Don't you want the police to follow the law roaddawg and rdaleresident? The law is that you can not search a person's car after a traffic infraction - end of story. If you don't like the law, have it changed through your legislator or move to another country. Also, read the judge's order - it says that the y prosecutor's office didn't even have the deputy at the hearing. Seems to me that the prosecutors office knew the stop was bad.

    -- Posted by basher on Tue, Feb 24, 2009, at 10:19 AM
  • The officer did follow the law. Driving without Insurance may be an infraction but due to the impound the car has to be searched. I'm guessing most of you think the Officer should have just wrote a citation and let the guy drive away. That kind of puts the Officer in a bad situation if the guy has a wreck before he gets home. As for the Prosecuter not calling on the Deputy, he was probably thinking the same thing I am. Guilty, open and shut case if the Judge knew the law.

    -- Posted by Road Dawg on Tue, Feb 24, 2009, at 12:08 PM
  • ahh, road dawg, you are not following the analysis. the officer did not follow the law. that is the whole point of the case. an officer may not impound a car based on the traffic infraction. ask the deputy prosecutor. i did.

    -- Posted by basher on Wed, Feb 25, 2009, at 8:16 AM
  • This is to basher. I wonder just how you would feel if this criminal would have drove down the road and killed someone you loved. I am not an officer, but I am sure that these guys are trained and know when something is suspicious. Sounds to me as if you are saying it is ok to drive down the road with no insurance, drugs, and a gun with no license. To me if someone was on parole and got in trouble for some of the very things that landed him in prison, then bye bye, your going back to prison. We all have to be responsible for our own actions, and he made that choice to drive with no proof of insuarance,un-licensed gun, and drugs. I think the charges should have stuck and he needed to do the time.

    -- Posted by RDALERESIDENT on Thu, Feb 26, 2009, at 7:36 AM
  • If as an upstanding citizen of this county, I am pulled over for driving slowly and having a cracked window I would understand, but if I fail to have my updated proof of insurance I do not feel my car should be searched and impounded. I understand and agree that this man is a criminal, with a record. I doubt he would have been able to produce proof of insurance for his court date and hopefully would have been arrested anyway. Its unfortunate this happened the way it did, but these laws help protect us too. I would not give up my right to a citation and a court date to prove my innocence so that this man and everyone else without proof of insurance can be detained and their cars searched and impounded.

    -- Posted by Fair1 on Wed, Mar 4, 2009, at 9:35 AM
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