GREENCASTLE -- The attorney representing an Indianapolis man charged in a Putnam County case with three drug-related felonies has filed a motion to suppress evidence, citing racial issues.
Zikimo Jones, 32, was arrested on April 27 after a traffic stop. Jones was subsequently charged with two counts of Class B felony dealing in a schedule I controlled substance and Class D felony possession of a controlled substance. A hearing on the motion to suppress evidence in the case will be heard Monday in Putnam County Circuit Court.
Putnam County Sheriff's Department Lt. Dwight Simmons stopped a vehicle on I-70 in which Jones was a passenger for not having a license plate displayed, court records said.
"When the arresting officer approached the vehicle after the stop, he immediately noticed the valid registration plate properly displayed in the rear window of the vehicle," a motion to suppress filed by Jones' attorney Melinda Jackman-Hanlin said. "(Jones), along with his co-defendant, is African-American. The defendants were stopped pursuant to an unlawful profiling technique employed by the officer."
The co-defendant Jackman-Hanlin refers to is Almez C.D. Bentley, 30, of Detroit. Bentley was driving the vehicle Simmons stopped. He is charged with two counts of Class B felony dealing in a schedule I controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance and possession of a narcotic drug, both Class D felonies.
In her motion, Jackman-Hanlin said Simmons called for backup while he kept Jones "sitting on the shoulder of I-70." She said Simmons requested that a second police officer move Jones' vehicle to a different location, and that because a police officer was in Jones' vehicle it was technically a search.
Additionally, Jackman-Hanlin said, Jones was questioned without being read his Miranda right, was asked to consent to a search of his vehicle without first being informed of his right to consult counsel and the search of the vehicle was done without a warrant.
"Defendant believes that the state will seek to admit the illegally obtained evidence at trial," Jackman-Hanlin said in her motion. "The evidence gathered was in vilation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article One, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. The evidence illegally obtained cannot be used in any proceeding."
At a pretrial on April 28, Judge Matthew Headley set Jones' bond at $20,000 cash. A bond reduction was denied on June 4, and Jones remains lodged at the Putnam County Jail.
Bentley also remains in the Putnam County Jail. His bond was set at $30,000 cash.
A jury trial in Jones' case is set for Oct. 7, with a final pretrial conference date of Sept. 14.
Bentley's court dates are all identical to Jones', but Bentley's lawyer, James Recker, has not filed any written motions to suppress evidence.
If convicted on all counts, Jones could face a prison sentence of more than 40 years.