Santa Claus' letters are safe, for now

June 9, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

An interesting footnote in an Indiana Court of Appeals opinion on a counterfeit case makes reference to letters from Santa Claus.

Patrick Trainor got a ticket for making an illegal U-turn and decided he should “prank” the ticketing officer by ordering items under the officer’s name and sending them to the officer’s house. The officer refused the items and discovered many other items Trainor ordered using the officer’s name. If the officer hadn’t caught it, he could have had his credit ruined as some outstanding bills had been turned over to collections.

In the opinion, Trainor argued that he hadn’t committed counterfeiting as defined by Indiana Code 35-43-5-2. He claimed the order forms he filled out in the officer’s name weren’t “written instruments” as defined by the counterfeiting statute because they “have no value, they create no privilege, and they aren’t objects of identification.”

The appellate court rejected Trainor’s arguments and upheld his convictions and sentence.

As I read the opinion, the footnote to a sentence made me chuckle.

“The order forms undoubtedly constitute papers, documents, or other instruments containing written matter, and thus fall within the statutory definition of written instrument.” In a footnote to this sentence, Judge Paul Mathias wrote, “Our holding is limited to the facts and circumstances before us. We do not consider whether letters from Santa Claus and the like constitute prosecutable crimes.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT