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Change to public intoxication statute not retroactive

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A woman convicted of public intoxication may not receive relief from a change in the statute that took effect a day before her bench trial.

Clematine Hollingsworth was charged with misdemeanors public intoxication and disorderly conduct on May 12, 2012, after Indianapolis police responded to a complaint of women fighting at an apartment complex. She was convicted of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication at a July 2 bench trial.

On July 1, an amendment to the public intoxication statute, I.C. 7.1-5-1-3, took effect. The new law narrowed the definition of P.I. to include actions that endanger the person’s life or that of other people; breaches the peace or is an imminent danger to breach the peace; or harasses, annoys or alarms another person.

In Clematine Hollingsworth v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1207-CR-617, Hollingsworth argued that the statutory change was remedial and that not applying it in her case was fundamental error. The state argued the issue was never raised at her trial and the argument was therefore waived. The appeals court agreed.

“Hollingsworth had the opportunity to raise the issue of retroactivity before the trial court and failed to do so. The purpose of the contemporaneous objection rule is ‘to promote a fair trial by precluding a party from sitting idly by and appearing to assent to an offer of evidence or ruling by the court only to cry foul when the outcome goes against him,’” Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote for the court. “We decline to abandon the contemporaneous objection rule here.”

 

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  • Retro
    I meant her lawyer should have raised the issue about the law not being retroactive. However, I don't think it should matter, if it is not, it should apply to her case retroactive. Being silent, is not waiving your rights or issues. A person can only waive an issue by stating that they wish to waive the issue, whatever it is.
  • PI
    A person, can't be charged with public intoxication, unless, they are on public property. Not raising the issue, is her lawyer's fault. Assuming she had a lawyer, why wouldn't she? Public defendrs are free. She needs to file for, ineffective counsel.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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