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Justices take 5 cases

January 15, 2013

The Indiana Supreme Court will weigh whether a student who resisted being handcuffed by a school resource officer merits adjudication as a delinquent for the equivalent of Class D felony resisting law enforcement.

Justices granted transfer to K.W. v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1301-JV-20, one of five cases the Supreme Court agreed to review in the week ending Jan. 11. Transfer was denied in 17 cases. The transfer dispositions may be viewed here.

K.W. was a 15-year-old Ben Davis High School student in Indianapolis when he and another student faced off with fists raised indicating they were about to fight. A teacher broke up the confrontation, and school liaison officer Eugene Smith, who serves as an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer employed by the school, later placed a handcuff on one of K.W.’s wrists, but the student pulled away.

Smith then initiated a “straight-arm takedown” and struggled with the student and sustained injuries in the process. After a hearing, K.W. was adjudicated a delinquent child on a charge of Class D felony resisting law enforcement when committed by an adult.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in a unanimous opinion written by Judge Edward Najam, holding that a school resource officer is not a performing official duties of a law enforcement officer under the resisting statute, therefore Indiana Code 35-44-3-3 may not apply.

The justices also granted transfer in these cases:

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