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COA: Woman’s conduct is harassment, not intimidation

February 17, 2014

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a woman’s misdemeanor intimidation conviction stemming from her communications with the wife of her baby’s father. The court held that the state was unable to prove she committed intimidation as charged.

Rakiea McCaskill had a one-year-old child with Tamika Matlock’s husband when McCaskill called Matlock four times the evening of Oct. 28 and morning of Oct. 29, 2012, and threatened to beat her up. She also said she was outside of Matlock’s home.

The state charged McCaskill under subsection (a)(1) of the intimidation statute, saying she communicated a threat with the intent that Matlock engage in conduct against her will: to leave her husband and/or cause her husband to leave her.

The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, noting there is insufficient evidence of McCaskill’s intent because she never specified the reason for her threats toward Matlock. At trial, Matlock admitted she didn’t know why McCaskill wanted to beat her up. The state argued there is enough circumstantial evidence to show intent. It argued that because McCaskill and Matlock do not have a relationship other than through the husband, McCaskill’s aim must have been for Matlock to leave her husband.

McCaskill had been in a relationship with the husband for several years before threatening Matlock, Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote in Rakiea McCaskill v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1306-CR-480. It is not clear why McCaskill would suddenly start threatening Matlock with that aim.   

The state did argue at McCaskill’s trial for the lesser-included offense of harassment, which is supported by the evidence. As such, the Court of Appeals ordered the Class A misdemeanor intimidation charge vacated and that the trial court enter judgment of Class B misdemeanor harassment.
 

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