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Decision resolves conflicting appellate rulings

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An offense of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors can be committed when a defendant attempts to transmit prohibited matter by the Internet to an adult police detective posing as a minor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The high court granted transfer to Andrew King v. State of Indiana, No. 49S04-0911-CR-507, to resolve a conflict in Indiana Court of Appeals decisions in Alpin v. State, 889 N.E.2d 882 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), and Gibbs v. State, 898 N.E.2d 1240 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008). King argued there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors because the material was actually received by an adult police officer. He claimed because it's not a crime to send such material over the Internet to someone who is over 18, it isn't a crime to attempt to engage in that activity. King also argued that subsection (b)(3) of the dissemination statute operates to exempt the statute from the general attempt statute and indicates the legislature's intent to not criminalize the transmission unless the recipient is actually a minor.

The justices examined the statutes defining attempt and dissemination of matter or conducting performance harmful to minors and upheld King's conviction. The general attempt statute applies to dissemination of matter harmful to minors and the crime of attempted dissemination isn't precluded when the intended minor recipient is actually an adult, wrote Justice Brent Dickson. The essence of an attempt is that one or more elements of an offense are not fully satisfied, but a defendant still has taken a substantial step toward the offense while acting with the requisite intent of that offense. If each of the elements of an offense is fully satisfied, the charged offense will be the offense, not an attempt of that offense.

In King's case, he sent the inappropriate matter to someone he thought was younger than 18 years old. The only element not met for the offense of disseminating matter harmful to minors is that the recipient was not younger than 18. Because the recipient was not a minor, the defendant was charged with attempted dissemination, rather than dissemination, of matter harmful to minors, wrote Justice Dickson.

As a result of their ruling, the justices disapproved and overruled Alpin and Gibbs to the extent that they may be read to prohibit convictions for attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors where the supposed minor is actually an adult.

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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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