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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. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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