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Divided court reverses teen’s intimidation adjudication

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Split over whether a teen’s threats toward his grandfather were intended to place the man in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act, two Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed a teen’s delinquency adjudication for committing intimidation.

Terry Landis called 911 and told law enforcement that he had escaped from his residence after his teenage grandson C.L. had held him hostage for several days because Landis refused to give a portion of a home loan he planned to take out to C.L. to buy a car. C.L. said if he didn’t get the money he would beat his grandfather and that if he got sent to jail he would kill his grandfather when he got out. Landis was fearful of his grandson because of his strength and size.

C.L. was adjudicated delinquent for committing one count of what would be Class A misdemeanor intimidation if committed by an adult. In In Re: The Matter of C.L., a Delinquent v. State of Indiana, 05A04-1306-JV-319, Judges John Baker and Terry Crone reversed because the statute requires the threats to place Landis in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act. The majority held the threats made by C.L. were conditional and targeted a future conduct. Landis testified he had not taken out the loan yet at the time C.L. demanded the money.

Judge Edward Najam dissented, writing that Landis’ decision to get the home loan for repairs and refusal to give C.L. any portion of the loan constitute a prior lawful act. A reasonable inference from the evidence demonstrates that C.L.’s threats were intended to place his grandfather in fear of retaliation for his prior lawful act of having decided not to surrender a portion of the loan proceeds to C.L., Najam wrote.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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