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Appellate court vacates murder, dealing convictions

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The Indiana Court of Appeals vacated convictions of felony murder and dealing in a controlled substance because the state didn’t prove the man was involved in the dealing of ecstasy.

Steven Hyche claimed that he was just trying to purchase ecstasy, not deal in it when the one of the men he met with to buy the drugs was gunned down during the deal. The surviving witness said Hyche was one of the two men standing by his car when he pulled up but that he never saw Hyche with a gun.

Hyche argued since he was just trying to buy ecstasy, he doesn’t fall within the legislature’s definition of a person who committed dealing and so he couldn’t have been guilty of felony murder. The Court of Appeals agreed and vacated his convictions.

The state argued that Hyche could be convicted of dealing in a schedule I controlled substance because he was involved in the delivery and financed the delivery of the drug during the deal. The judges rejected the state’s positions, finding he acted as the transferee, not the transferor.

“The fact that he called another person to request drugs no more makes him a dealer in ecstasy than it would make a customer who calls the florist a dealer in flowers,” wrote Judge Terry Crone in Steven D. Hyche v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0911-CR-1154

In addition, there’s no evidence Hyche furnished any money to further the drug dealers’ dealing activities. He acted merely as a purchaser, and not as a creditor or investor.

“As such, he could no more be deemed to be financing the delivery of ecstasy than a grocery shopper could be deemed to be financing the supermarket’s inventory,” wrote the judge.

The judges also rejected the state’s argument that there’s enough evidence to support Hyche’s guilt as a dealer’s accomplice in dealing ecstasy. Hyche just wanted to buy drugs from the dealers and even though they were all at the crime scene, they were not companions but more like adversaries, noted the judge.

“To find that his offer to purchase the drug somehow amounts to organizing, financing, or even inducing its delivery, defies logic and cannot reasonably reflect the intent of the General Assembly in enacting these statutes,” he wrote.
 

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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