N.D.Ind.: Defense counsel not ineffective for challenging state search under state constitution and not 4A too

Defense counsel was not ineffective for making a state constitutional challenge to his search and not a Fourth Amendment one. If anything, the state challenge would have potentially provided him a better chance at relief, but it ultimately didn’t. If the state claim lacked merit, so would the federal claim. Bryant v. Warden, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176165 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 25, 2020):

Here, appellate counsel argued on direct appeal that the strip search was unreasonable under the Indiana Constitution. In his brief to the Court of Appeals of Indiana, Bryant explained his “argument is simply that counsel failed to make separate argument under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution (regarding) the scope of the strip search.” (DE # 11-9 at 98.) The same argument under the Fourth Amendment is an obvious issue, but it is not stronger than the same argument under the Indiana Constitution because Indiana’s test for the reasonableness of a search is the same as the Fourth Amendment. As such, the determination by the Court of Appeals of Indiana that Bryant’s appellate counsel was not ineffective by foregoing a Fourth Amendment challenge to the strip search was not an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court. Therefore Ground One is not a basis for habeas corpus relief.

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