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COA finds Army discipline does not exempt defendant from prosecution

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court denial of a man’s motion to dismiss, rejecting his argument that being reprimanded by the United States Army precludes him from prosecution for the same offense.

In David Hoffman v. State of Indiana, No. 03A01-1104-CR-180, David Hoffman argued that because the Army demoted him in rank for a operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the state should not have been able to prosecute him on the same charge, due to double jeopardy standards.

Hoffman was an active-duty sergeant in the Army stationed at Camp Atterbury north of Columbus, Ind. On Dec. 20, 2009, Hoffman was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and the state later charged Hoffman with that offense.

Hoffman alleges that, prior to his criminal trial, the Army took action against him for the same incident.

The appeals court held that because the defendant had failed to provide a complete record, it declined to conclude that the action taken by the military prevented the state from prosecuting him for the same conduct.

Hoffman provided the appeals court with a copy of his reduction in grade of rank. But the appeals court found that the reduction was for failure to complete training, unsatisfactory participation and failure to complete or attend noncommissioned officers education system, respectively.

In the COA opinion, Judge John Baker wrote, “We find that the record lacks any clear evidence to establish that the type of punishment that Hoffman received from the Army was equivalent to a prosecution and, in fact, undermines Hoffman’s assertion that the punishment was for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.”
 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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