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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. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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