Indiana Court of Appeals Upholds Starke County Magistrate’s Ruling

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling by Starke County Magistrate, Jeanene Calabrese, concerning a search warrant executed at the residence of Donnie Salyer of Knox.

On May 26th, 2009, Knox City Police Officer, Chad Keen, had executed a search warrant at the residence of Donnie Salyer. The search warrant had listed the address as 521 W. Culver Road but the correct address was 513 W. Culver Road. Officer Keen knew the correct residence of Donnie Salyer and executed the search warrant at Salyer’s address. Salyer was subsequently charged with Possession of Marijuana, Dealing in Marijuana and Maintaining a Common Nuisance, all Class D Felonies.

On July 18th, 2009, Salyer filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of his residence, arguing that the search warrant was invalid because it specifically did not list the correct address. Officer Keen testified that he believed his description of Salyer’s home was accurate but the address was not listed accurately on the warrant.

Magistrate Jeanene Calabrese concluded that if a search warrant fails to describe a property to be searched with particularity, this error can be cured by evidence that the warrant was executed by an officer who had applied for the warrant, who personally knew of the property to be searched and the property that was intended to be searched was the property actually searched. Salyer appealed this decision but the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of Judge Jeanene Calabrese of the Starke Circuit Court, stating that “incorrect address information does not necessarily invalidate a warrant. Suppression of evidence collected is not required, despite a minor error in the address, if the warrant sufficiently described the property to be searched despite the mistake.”