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Evidence does not support stand-your-ground defense

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A man’s attempt to bolster his defense by using Indiana’s stand-your-ground law was rejected because the evidence did not support his claim.

Dwight Hayes was arrested and charged after he pointed two handguns at Natasha McDaniel who was trying to serve him with legal documents. McDaniel remained on the public sidewalk outside Hayes’ home and never tried to enter his front yard.

At trial, Hayes wanted the jury instructions to contain the information that a person may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to prevent unlawful entry or attack on his property. In addition, he wanted the jury to be told that the state has the burden of proving the defendant did not act in defense of his property.

Although the Marion Superior Court found the instruction was a correct statement of the law, the court rejected the three paragraphs since there was no evidence indicating his property was being attacked.

On appeal, Hayes pointed out that McDaniel first walked into his yard and knocked on his front door, and then returned to her truck before he confronted her. This, he argued, established why he believed he needed to prevent any unlawful re-entry onto his property.

The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the trial court’s ruling in Dwight Hayes v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1312-CR-619.

“Although McDaniel has knocked on Hayes’s front door in an effort to serve him with legal documents, she had returned to her truck and was completing paperwork when Hayes arrived in the front yard with two guns,” Judge Michael Barnes, wrote for the court. “At that point, McDaniel got out of her truck to talk to Hayes but remained on the public sidewalk at all times. Her friend testified she was 100 percent sure that McDaniel did not try to open the gate again. There simply is no evidence that McDaniel was attempting to attack or unlawfully enter Hayes’s property when Hayes pointed the guns at McDaniel.”

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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