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Habitual traffic violator’s conviction upheld

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Inaction by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to update a man’s driving record to reflect his lifetime suspended license is not enough to nullify a statutory requirement that his lifetime suspension be imposed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Joshua McCaine Pillow argued that his conviction for Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after driving privileges had been forfeited for life should be overturned because neither his BMV driving record nor a 2010 judgment convicting him of Class D felony driving as a habitual traffic offender indicated his driving privileges were forfeited for life.

Pillow pleaded guilty in 2010 to Class D felony operating a motor vehicle while suspended as a habitual traffic violator; the agreement provided he would receive a lifetime suspension of driving privileges. He was pulled over in 2011 for driving with his headlights off and arrested for driving as a habitual traffic violator. His conviction on the charge led to a six-year sentence.

Indiana Code 9-30-10-17 says that a person who operates a motor vehicle after his or her driving privileges are forfeited for life under I.C. 9-30-10-16 commits a Class C felony. Pillow’s 2010 conviction falls under Section 16 and says that one who is convicted under that statute “forfeits the privilege of operating a motor vehicle for life.”

“The State was not obliged in the case before us to prove Pillow knew of his lifetime forfeiture. Knowledge of a lifetime forfeiture is not an element of Indiana Code § 9-30-10-17, so proof of knowledge is not necessary to sustain a conviction,” Judge Melissa May wrote in Joshua McCaine Pillow v. State of Indiana, 71A04-1206-CR-325.

The judges also held that his recent conviction wasn’t improper because at the time of his offense the BMV hadn’t received notice of the 2010 conviction.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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