ILNews

Judges disagree over 'access' in statute

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their ruling today on a man who was convicted of performance harmful to minors, with the majority affirming the conviction.

In Frederick A. Zitlaw v. State of Indiana, No. 29A05-0701-CR-35, Zitlaw appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss the performance harmful to minors charge, a Class D felony. A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy saw Zitlaw expose himself in a public park. The probable cause affidavit alleged children were present in the park.

Zitlaw wanted the charge dismissed because the charging information omitted a statutory exception; the charging information didn't include the names of any of the alleged children who witnessed the indecent exposure; no minors actually heard or saw Zitlaw's actions; and the performance harmful to minors statute is unconstitutionally vague.

Judges John Sharpnack and Ezra Friedlander affirmed the trial court denial of Zitlaw's motion, ruling that interpretation of Indiana Code Section 35-49-3-3 clearly shows Zitlaw was in violation of the statute. Even though there were no minors present when he exposed himself, part of statute includes minors having "visual, auditory, or physical access." The majority of judges concluded that minors don't have to be present but only need the ability to see or hear the conduct.

However, in her dissent, Judge Patricia Riley disagreed with the majority's interpretation of "an area to which minors have visual, auditory, or physical access" because she interpreted the language of the statute to require the actual presence of minors that can see, hear, or feel the performance of the act. In fact, a "performance" of an indecent act is required under the statute, and Judge Riley concluded based on Indiana Code Article 49, that a performance requires an audience of one or more people. So, if no children were present during Zitlaw's indecent act, then no performance took place and he did not violate I.C. Section 35-49-3-3.

In her dissent, Judge Riley wrote she would reverse the trial court's decision and remand for further proceedings on the other charges against Zitlaw.
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  1. Compromising precious constitutional rights in order to protect them? Rather like the military intelligence slogan that the town had to be destroyed in order to save it. Looks like Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus will have quite the eventful Boxing Day this year. Wise men will arrive to find no one to accept their gifts? Oh well, wisdom not all that desired this xmas anyway. Maybe the ACLU and Christian attorneys can work out a "three days every third year" visitation compromise and all of this messy litigation stuff can just be boxed up as well? It is an art form, now isn't it? Thomas More, a man of manifold compromises is undoubtedly cheering on wildly.

  2. From the MCBA: “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer. HOPING that the MCBA will denouce the execution style killig of two NYC police officers this day, seemingly the act of one who likewise believes that the police are targeting blacks for murder and getting away with it. http://www.mediaite.com/online/two-nypd-cops-fatally-shot-in-ambush-in-brooklyn/ Pray this violence soon ends, and pray it stays far away from Indiana.

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  4. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

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