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Argumentative passenger’s public intoxication conviction reversed

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A passenger in a car that a police officer stopped after seeing an arm and object hanging out of the car window, followed by the sound of shattering glass, was improperly convicted of public intoxication, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The PI statute was revised in 2012 to require conduct elements along with intoxication for a conviction. The appeals court found former Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown erred in convicting Colton Milam of the Class B misdemeanor after a bench trial.

Milam argued with an officer and another passenger after acknowledging to the officer that he and another passenger had been drinking. Milam contended a bottle had been thrown from another vehicle, according to the record, and the officer said Milam profanely told his fellow passenger to tell the truth.

The officer later described Milam as loud, boisterous and uncooperative. He had removed Milam from the car and handcuffed him, contending the passenger was interfering with his investigation.

“Milam concedes that he was intoxicated in a public place. We believe, however, that reversing Milam’s conviction in this case is consistent with the purpose and spirit of the current public intoxication statute,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the panel in Colton Milam v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1312-CR-998.
 
“Prior to Milam’s arrest there is no evidence to indicate that Milam endangered his life or the life of another or disturbed the peace. The trial court declined to determine who threw the bottle from the window and found that it was immaterial to the decision,” Barnes wrote.

“Prosecuting and convicting Milam for being intoxicated, in a pulled-over car, while arguing with (the other passenger and officer) does not reach the level of disturbing the peace, harassment, annoyance, or alarm, and therefore does not meet the requirements of the public intoxication statute,” the panel concluded.
 

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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

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  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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