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COA: Teen didn't resist law enforcement

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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.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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