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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. 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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