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Court divided on invasion of privacy charge

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The Indiana Court of Appeals split today as to whether a woman who had an order for protection against her should have been convicted of invasion of privacy when she spoke to the protected party during a court hearing.

Kimberly Thomas had an ex parte order for protection issued against her that prevented her from “harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or directly or indirectly communicating” with James Smith. While that order was in effect, the trial court held a hearing on the matter with both parties present. Thomas told Smith to stop calling her at the end of the hearing and in the court’s presence. She was immediately arrested and charged with Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

The trial court found she violated the order and convicted her. Thomas argued there wasn’t enough evidence to show she acted with the mens rea to commit invasion of privacy because the “courtroom is a neutral zone where some terms of the protective order are naturally suspended” to conduct judicial proceedings. She argued that her statement was a gross violation of decency and decorum and that she should be held in contempt.

In Kimberly Thomas v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1002-CR-105, Judges Elaine Brown and Carr Darden believed given the context of this case that the judge should have used direct contempt to punish Thomas for her statement. They reversed her conviction and remanded for the trial court to resume direct contempt proceedings to address her comment if the court chooses to do so.

Judge Cale Bradford dissented, finding nothing in Indiana statute would have precluded the state from filing the invasion of privacy charge. He agreed that direct contempt proceedings would have been the “more efficient and preferred remedy” but the “statute plainly states that a person who violates a protective order commits invasion of privacy.”

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  1. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... http://www.theindianalawyer.com/supreme-court-reprimands-attorney-for-falsifying-hours-worked/PARAMS/article/43757 Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

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