ILNews

COA: Teen didn't resist law enforcement

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A teen who refused to stand up or pull up his pants when ordered by a police officer did not resist law enforcement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In A.C. v. State of Indiana, 49A04-0912-JV-682, A.C. appealed his adjudication for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement if committed by an adult. Officer Richard Stratman was dispatched to the lobby regarding the recovery of a runaway juvenile. A.C. was in the lobby of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department district headquarters with his mother.

A.C. didn’t answer Stratman’s questions, refused to stand up, and didn’t pull his pants up when asked. When the officer attempted to pull them up, A.C. pulled away a little and pulled down part of his pants. A.C. also leaned his weight and pulled away from Stratman’s grasp.

A.C. was committed to the Department of Correction but the juvenile court suspended the commitment and put him on probation.

The Court of Appeals delved into previous caselaw on forcible resistance, referencing Spangler v. State, 607 N.E.2d 720 (Ind. 1993), Johnson v. State, 833 N.E.2d 516 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), Graham v. State, 903 N.E.2d 963 (Ind. 2009), and Colvin v. State, 916 N.E.2d 306 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010).

The Graham court confirmed that it is error as a matter of law to conclude that “forcibly resists” includes all actions that are not passive. Graham refused to put his hands up and give his arms for cuffing. In Colvin, the appellate court noted that the officers testified that Colvin wasn’t complying with the officers’ commands and the officers had to use force to arrest Colvin. Colvin refused to take his hands out of his pockets. Neither case had sufficient evidence to show the defendants forcibly resisted officers.

“Here, there is even less evidence of forcible resistance than in either Graham or Colvin,” wrote Judge Terry Crone. “We observe that although A.C. did not stand up when asked, Officer Stratman pulled him to his feet without resistance. A.C.’s simple failure to stand, without more, amounts to passive inaction and seems analogous to the failure to present one’s arms for handcuffing, which our supreme court has said does not constitute forcible resistance.”

The judge also noted that leaning away and pulling down one’s pants don’t constitute forceful resistance to the performance of Stratman’s duties. Stratman never had to struggle to cuff A.C. or to get him to see medics for an arm injury.

“While A.C.’s conduct may have justified a physical response from the officer, that does not equate to criminal conduct as to A.C. under the supreme court’s current definition of resisting law enforcement,” wrote Judge Crone.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

ADVERTISEMENT