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State didn’t prove woman took drug while on probation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the revocation of a Sullivan County woman’s probation, finding the state didn’t demonstrate that Michelle Orr Carpenter took a barbiturate while on probation.

Carpenter pleaded guilty to resisting law enforcement Oct. 4, 2012, and was placed on probation. She was prohibited from using any controlled substance without a prescription as a part of her probation terms. Five days after starting probation, she failed a drug test that showed she took phenobarbital. She did not have a prescription for that drug.

At a hearing on the probation violation, a pharmacist testified that phenobarbital can show up on a test up to three weeks after having ingested it. Carpenter said she had been prescribed the drug while an inpatient at a drug rehab center back in May, but said she never took it outside of her time at the facility.

The Court of Appeals reversed the probation revocation because there is no evidence she used the drug during the five days between her placement on probation and her drug test. Her probation officer did not give her a drug screen at the start of her probation to establish if any drugs were in her system. The state did not present any evidence of the amount or concentration of the drug it detected.

“Even when viewed most favorably to the State, the evidence here was in equipoise, and it was no more likely that Carpenter ingested phenobarbital during her probationary period than it was that she ingested it before her probationary period,” Judge Edward Najam wrote in Michelle Orr Carpenter v. State of Indiana, 77A01-1306-CR-293.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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