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Elements of crimes did not occur in Indiana

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that charges be dropped against a pair living in Houston who faced counterfeiting and theft charges, finding the trial court lacked territorial jurisdiction.

The case of An-Hung Yao and Yu-Ting Lin v. State of Indiana, No. 35A02-1006-CR-678, came before the appellate court on interlocutory appeal. Yu-Ting Lin, who operates a business in Houston that imports airsoft toy guns from Taiwan and sells them, and An-Hung Yao, a bank vice president who helped set up business systems for Lin, challenged the Huntington Circuit Court’s decision to not dismiss theft and corrupt business influence charges against the pair.

The charges stemmed from the sale of a certain airsoft gun that allegedly resembled Heckler & Koch Inc.’s MP5 submachine gun. H&K hired Indiana-based Continental Enterprises to investigate possible trademark infringement claims. Continental placed several orders for the guns that were shipped to Indiana, and a company investigator visited Lin’s company in Houston.

Also on appeal, the state challenged the decision to grant Yao and Lin’s motions to dismiss counterfeiting charges.

Yao and Lin argued that the Indiana trial court did not have territorial jurisdiction over them. There have only been a small number of Indiana cases that address territorial jurisdiction, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb, and all either held that there is no serious evidentiary dispute that Indiana has territorial jurisdiction or there is a serious evidentiary dispute requiring a jury determination.

“However, given that Indiana Code section 35-34-1-4(a)(10) provides that the trial court may dismiss an information if there is a jurisdictional impediment to the prosecution, we believe the converse of the rule announced in Ortiz (v. State, 766 N.E.2d 370, 374 (Ind. 2002)) is also true: if there is no serious evidentiary dispute that Indiana does not have territorial jurisdiction, the trial court may dismiss the information as a matter of law and the issue need not be submitted to the jury,” she wrote.

The judges concluded that the elements of the crimes Yao and Lin were charged with did not occur in Indiana. Citing United States v. Smith, 173 Fed. 227 (D. Ind. 1909), the appellate court concluded that between the two options – Yao and Lin committed a separate crime in every jurisdiction where they sent airsoft guns or they committed a crime only in the place where they actually possessed the guns – the second choice was more reasonable and comported with due process.

The COA remanded Thursday for the trial court to dismiss the remaining charges.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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