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COA: Switchblade ban not unconstitutional

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A portion of Indiana Code that prohibits a person from owning a switchblade isn't unconstitutional as applied to a defendant and doesn't place a material burden upon the core value of the right to defend herself, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

At issue in April Lacy v. State of Indiana, No. 31A04-0810-CR-571, is whether Indiana Code Section 35-47-5-2, which defines the crime of possession of a knife with an automatic opening blade, is unconstitutional.

Lacy argued the code is unconstitutional on its face and as applied to her, and violates her right to bear arms under Article 1, Section 32 of the Indiana Constitution. The Court of Appeals passed over Lacy's argument the code is unconstitutional on its face and instead focused on whether its application in her case was unconstitutional.

Indiana courts have already held the right to bear arms is not absolute, but the state hasn't addressed the constitutionality of a statute that prohibits a specific arm. The statute in question here doesn't completely ban a class of weapons but bans only knives that automatically open or may be propelled by a device.

The Court of Appeals didn't agree with Lacy that the Oregon Supreme Court case State v. Delgado, 298 Or. 395 692 P.2d 610 (1984), was persuasive for her argument.

"In summary, we cannot say that switchblades are typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for self defense purposes. We also conclude that Ind. Code Section 35-47-5-2 is limited because it does not prohibit the possession of all knives but only knives that open automatically or 'may be propelled ... by hand pressure applied to a button, device containing gas, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife,'" wrote Judge Elaine Brown. "Based upon these conclusions, we hold that Ind. Code Section 35-47-5-2 does not place a material burden upon the core value of Lacy's right to defend herself."

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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