COA: Teen who shot cows did not mutilate or torture them

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday reversed a teenager’s adjudications for cruelty to an animal after finding the evidence was not sufficient to prove he mutilated or tortured either cow he shot.

Seventeen-year-old A.J.R. and his 14-year-old friend C.C. were in LaPorte County coyote hunting with C.C.’s semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle. When they came upon a pasture of cattle, A.J.R. took C.C.’s rifle, leaned out of the driver’s side window of his car, and fired two shots into the herd of cattle. C.C. fired at cattle at another pasture.

The cattle’s owner discovered two of his cows lying on the ground. One had a wound in its head, the other had no visible wound but was moaning and unresponsive. Both died within 30 minutes of the shooting.

Police interviewed the teens, during which A.J.R. admitting to driving the car when the cows were shot after C.C. implicated A.J.R. in the shootings. A.J.R. was adjudicated as a delinquent for committing what would be two counts of cruelty to an animal, two counts of criminal mischief, and aiding, inducing or causing criminal mischief, if committed by an adult.

In A.J.R. v. State of Indiana, 46A03-1306-JV-243, the appellate judges found there was sufficient evidence that A.J.R. shot and killed two of the cattle, including testimony of sheriff’s deputy Troy Ryan, who investigated the area where the two shootings occurred. Thus, they affirmed his adjudications for criminal mischief.

But the judges reversed the adjudications for cruelty to animals because there’s no evidence the teen intended to torture or mutilate the cows. There’s no evidence that A.J.R. shot either of the cows with the intent of increasing or prolonging the animals’ pain, as is required for conviction of this crime by the statute. Nor is there evidence that he targeted either cow in a way that would result in serious disfigurement, protracted impairment of a body part or organ, or a fracture, Judge Margret Robb wrote, which again is required by statute.

The judges also affirmed the admission of Ryan’s skilled witness testimony, ruling it did not violate A.J.R.’s right to a fair fact-finding hearing.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.