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COA: Court should not have imposed 2-mile ban as part of probation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial court abused its discretion when it originally imposed a probation condition prohibiting a man from going within two miles of where he committed battery against a stranger.

Wayne Hurd was convicted of Class B misdemeanor battery for grabbing Susan Schneider from behind a bus stop at 39th and College Avenue in Indianapolis. The two did not know each other. She kicked Hurd in the groin and ran home to call police. At his trial, Hurd denied touching Schneider and explained that he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was taking medication.

Hurd’s public defender wanted Hurd’s mother to testify about his mental illness and demeanor, but she was not identified as a potential witness until the morning of the trial. The trial court did not let her testify, which Hurd challenged on appeal. The Court of Appeals affirmed because the offer of proof was not specific as to the substance of Hurd’s mother’s testimony, she was not present at the bus stop, and the trial court found the victim’s testimony credible and Hurd’s testimony to have gaps.

Hurd also challenged the original probation condition imposed in August 2013 that he stay approximately two miles away from 38th and College Avenue. Although the trial court amended the condition three months later to a “one block radius” of Schneider’s home, the probation department filed a notice of probation violation less than two weeks after the original condition was imposed. It alleged he was in the area of 4100 N. College Ave. on Aug. 11.

“It was reasonable for the trial court to express concern for Hurd’s mental health, and the court did so by ordering Hurd to comply with his treatment regimen at Gallahue. Further, given that Hurd’s conviction was for a crime against a person, it was also reasonable for the court to prohibit contact with Susan. However, prohibiting Hurd from entering a significant area of the central part of Indianapolis is not tailored to his rehabilitation or public safety,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in Wayne Hurd v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1309-CR-753.

The judges remanded with instructions to vacate any pending probation violations based upon the original condition.
 

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