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Man's conviction hinges on 'induce' definition

September 20, 2011

The Indiana Court of Appeals had to determine how to interpret the term “induce” related to a man’s contributing to the delinquency of a minor case and upheld his conviction based on the term’s dictionary definition.

In Thomas Temple v. State of Indiana, No. 27A05-1101-CR-31, Thomas Temple challenged his conviction of Class A misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The state alleged that Temple knowingly induced his 15-year-old neighbor to leave her house. Temple and his neighbor had been exchanging text messages planning for A.H. to leave her house and “hook up” with him. Her parents became suspicious and didn’t let her leave the house that night.

Temple moved for judgment on the evidence based on the fact that A.H. never actually left her home. His motion was denied and he was found guilty.

The judges focused on the term “induce” that the state used in the charging information. Temple believed that induce required that A.H. actually left her house; the state claimed the term is more akin to the word “encourage,” and is satisfied when the defendant acts to persuade a minor to commit a delinquent act, regardless of whether the minor actually completes the alleged conduct.

There isn’t a case that specifically defines “induce,” so the judges looked at Black’s Law Dictionary’s definition of “inducement:” the “act or process of enticing or persuading another person to take a certain course of action.”

“A common understanding of ‘entice’ and ‘persuade’ suggests that a person need not do anything but influence another’s mind or beliefs to have committed ‘inducement,’” wrote Judge Cale Bradford. “Temple’s restrictive interpretation of ‘induce’ appears counter to this relatively broad definition.”

The judges also cited Dorn v. State, 819 N.E.2d 516, 520 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), in which “entice” was interpreted in the promoting prostitution statute as not requiring some form of completed act, to affirm Temple’s conviction.

Judge Bradford noted that the statute under which Temple was charged criminalizes the mere act of “encouraging,” which suggests that the General Assembly intended to criminalize conduct regardless of whether it resulted in a completed act.

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