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Drunken driving conviction affirmed; lesser included charge vacated

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A Marion Superior Court conviction in a drunken driving case was affirmed Thursday by the Indiana Court of Appeals, but the court ordered a lesser included charge on which the driver was convicted be merged.

The court ruled in Brenda Stutz v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1110-CR-960, that Stutz’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.15 percent should stand, but remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to vacate a lesser included conviction for Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated, holding that the two charges should be merged.

The court noted that the General Assembly amended the state’s drunken driving statutes in 2000, creating Class C misdemeanor violations in which the “endangerment” requirement was removed.

“Clearly, the classification of operating a vehicle with a BAC of at least .15 percent as a class A misdemeanor and that of driving while intoxicated as a class C misdemeanor is evidence that the legislature has determined that the former offense constitutes a greater risk than the latter offense,” Judge Carr Darden wrote in a unanimous opinion.

Stutz cited Sering v. State, 488 N.E.2d 369 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986), in which a defendant appealed his convictions for operating a vehicle with a BAC of .10 percent and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, which at the time were Class A and Class C misdemeanors respectively. That ruling held that the risk of someone operating at a level above .10 percent is greater than that of a driver who is intoxicated to a lesser degree. “This legislative intent is evidenced by the disparate classification of the two offenses,” the court ruled in Sering.

 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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