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Change in state statute gets public intoxication conviction overturned

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Although the evidence showed the man was intoxicated in public, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his conviction because he was not a threat to public safety.

 The Court of Appeals pointed to Indiana Code 7.1-5-1-3(a) which was amended to define the elements of a Class B misdemeanor public intoxication. Namely, the drunken individual must be either endangering his or her own life or the life of another person; or breaching or about to breach the peace; or harassing, annoying or alarming another person.

In Danny Stephens v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1301-CR-18, the COA reversed the trial court, finding the evidence was insufficient to support Stephens’ conviction for public intoxication since he was not a posing a danger, nor was he being loud or harassing others.  

 “Notably, the General Assembly added these elements to the public intoxication statute in 2012, making it no longer a crime simply to be intoxicated in public,” Judge Terry Crone wrote. “The addition of these elements promotes public policy encouraging inebriated persons to avoid creating dangerous situations by walking, catching a cab, or riding home with a designated driver rather than driving while intoxicated. Because the amendment became effective July 2012, we have little precedent concerning the new language.”

Stephens was arrested for public intoxication after he called Indianapolis Metropolitan Police and asked them to take him to jail. He did not want to return to his home for fear his niece’s boyfriend would harm him.

The Court of Appeals found that Stephens was asking for help when he walked to a public place, called police and told them he was drunk. While he was drunk in a public parking lot, he did not violate the statute by breaching the peace.



 

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  1. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

  2. wow is this a bunch of bs! i know the facts!

  3. MCBA .... time for a new release about your entire membership (or is it just the alter ego) being "saddened and disappointed" in the failure to lynch a police officer protecting himself in the line of duty. But this time against Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?ref=us&_r=0

  4. Dr wail asfour lives 3 hours from the hospital,where if he gets an emergency at least he needs three hours,while even if he is on call he should be in a location where it gives him max 10 minutes to be beside the patient,they get paid double on their on call days ,where look how they handle it,so if the death of the patient occurs on weekend and these doctors still repeat same pattern such issue should be raised,they should be closer to the patient.on other hand if all the death occured on the absence of the Dr and the nurses handle it,the nurses should get trained how to function appearntly they not that good,if the Dr lives 3 hours far from the hospital on his call days he should sleep in the hospital

  5. It's a capital offense...one for you Latin scholars..

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