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Judges affirm drunk-driving conviction

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A Madison Circuit judge did not abuse his discretion in instructing the jury on operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class C misdemeanor, a lesser-included offense of drunk-driving charges a man faced, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.

Guydell Watson faced two charges for allegedly driving while under the influence: operating a vehicle with a B.A.C. of at least 0.15 percent as a Class A misdemeanor and operating with a B.A.C. of at least 0.15 percent with a previous conviction for operating while intoxicated as a Class D felony. Watson’s first trial resulted in a hung jury, so the state retried on the same charges.

Over Watson’s objection, the trial court also instructed the jury on operating a vehicle with a B.A.C. of at least 0.08 percent but less than 0.15 percent as a lesser-included offense of operating a vehicle with a B.A.C. of at least 0.15 percent. The jury found Watson guilty of the lesser-included offense, and Watson pleaded guilty to an amended Class D felony charge.

On appeal, Watson challenged the refusal to grant him public funds to hire an expert witness to decipher the results of tests performed on the BAC Datamaster used by the arresting officer. At the trial, an inspector with the Indiana State Department of Toxicology testified about how Datamasters are calibrated.

But Watson failed to show that the proposed unnamed expert could demonstrate that which he desired from the expert and failed to set forth what exactly he wanted the expert to testify about, Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote. It appeared he wanted the expert for only exploratory purposes.

Watson also claimed the trial court improperly granted the state’s motion to instruct on the lesser-included offense. The Court of Appeals found that operating a vehicle with a BAC of at least 0.08 percent but less than 0.15 percent is an inherently lesser-included offense of operating a vehicle with a BAC of at least 0.15 percent, so the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in instructing the jury on the Class C misdemeanor.

 

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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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