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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. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  2. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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  4. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

  5. What form or who do I talk to about a d felony which I hear is classified as a 6 now? Who do I talk to. About to get my degree and I need this to go away it's been over 7 years if that helps.

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