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Resisting conviction reversed, but meth convictions stand

December 4, 2012

A man who was convicted of multiple methamphetamine felonies had his misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction reversed, but the Court of Appeals was not persuaded to overturn his drug convictions.

A Howard Superior jury convicted Jerry Vanzyll of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felonies of possession of meth and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. He also was convicted of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison with 12 years executed.

The Court of Appeals ruled in Jerry Vanzyll v. State of Indiana, 34A02-1111-CR-1050, that crime scene evidence was sufficient to affirm the drug convictions and that a guard’s testimony about a letter that Vanzyll wrote in jail was admissible. But the appellate panel said the evidence of resisting law enforcement was insufficient to sustain that conviction.

“Vanzyll accurately observes that he ‘had no obligation to comply with officer’s [sic] requests that he answer the door … (citing Hardister v. State, 849 N.E.2d 563 (Ind. 2006),” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the court. “And the state concedes that Vanzyll was not required to open the door to the officers when they knocked, but argues that he committed resisting law enforcement when he ran back inside the house.”

“Vanzyll did not leave his residence, and he had no obligation to do so when (police) knocked on the front door. Vanzyll was never given a command to stop,” Mathias wrote. “Although Vanzyll did not immediately comply with (an officer’s) order, he did exit peaceably after a short period of time had elapsed.

“Under these facts and circumstances we conclude that the state’s evidence was not sufficient to prove that Vanzyll fled,” the opinion says. “We therefore reverse his resisting law enforcement conviction and remand this case to the trial court with instructions to vacate its judgment of conviction and sentence on that count.”

 

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