ILNews

Court examines 'judge' definition

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Appeals Court today upheld the convictions and sentence of man who sent threatening letters to the Marion County Prosecutors Office, a judge, and commissioner after being ordered to have no contact.

To be clear in its decision, the appellate court delved into the definition of "judge" and determined the term does include a county commissioner who handles legal matters for the court.

In Allen Montgomery v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0703-CR-188, Montgomery appealed his two Class D felony convictions for intimidation and 11 Class A misdemeanor convictions for invasion of privacy. Montgomery was convicted of impersonating a public servant and was placed on probation. As a part of the probation, he was ordered to not have any contact with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office unless it was to report a crime.

A week after he was placed on probation, Montgomery went before Master Commissioner Nancy Broyles regarding an alleged probation violation on a separate incident. Marion Superior Judge Grant Hawkins appointed Commissioner Broyles and assigned her duties, including hearing jury trials.

Commissioner Broyles revoked Montgomery's probation and ordered him to serve four years in the Indiana Department of Correction. From there, Montgomery sent letters to the prosecutor's office, none of which reported crimes. He also sent a letter to Commissioner Broyles saying he found her home address online and he hated to see something happen to her. Montgomery sent a letter to Judge Hawkins, telling him protecting Commissioner Broyles would be "an exercise in futility."

Montgomery was convicted of intimidation and invasion of privacy; he was also deemed a habitual offender. His intimidation charges were amended to Class D felonies because of his threats to a judge. He was sentenced to an aggregate term of 7 1/2 years, which included an enhancement of 4 1/2 years for being a habitual offender.

On appeal, Montgomery argued his Class D conviction for threatening a judge was in error because Commissioner Broyles is not a judge as is defined by the code that defines intimidation.

But the court disagreed, with Judge Nancy Vaidik writing that Commissioner Broyles was appointed by a Superior Court judge to hear and decide legal matters in the court - how a judge is defined in Black's Law Dictionary. Therefore, sufficient evidence exists to support the Class D felony convictions, she wrote.

Montgomery believed his convictions for invasion of privacy also violated his state and federal constitutional rights, but Montgomery never raised on appeal the issue that the no-contact order with the prosecutor's office put a restraint on his "politically expressive speech." The appellate court did not address this issue because Montgomery didn't attempt to appeal that issue at the time it was imposed.

As far as Montgomery's sentence, the appellate court found the trial court was well within statutory rights to enhance his sentence for being a habitual offender, and given the nature of his offenses and his character, his sentence was appropriate.
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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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