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Judges reverse football player’s operating while intoxicated conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed with the state’s argument that prosecutorial discretion extends to the determination of which conviction should be vacated after a finding of double jeopardy.

Indianapolis Colts defensive end Fili Moala was convicted of Class C misdemeanors operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration between 0.08 and 0.15 and operating a vehicle while intoxicated; the convictions were merged by the trial court. He was also convicted of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.

Moala and the state agree that the operating while intoxicated conviction and the public intoxication conviction violate double jeopardy, but they disagree as to which conviction should be vacated. The state wanted to drop the Class B misdemeanor public intoxication conviction because the Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated could have more severe penalties, such as license suspension, and may lead to a future Class D felony charge if Moala is arrested again for drunk driving.

The appellate judges noted there is not a less serious form of either offense to remedy the double jeopardy issue. Moala argued that the lower class offense should be vacated and the judges agreed.

“As we do not believe non-punitive sanctions should be considered as part of the penal consequences of a conviction, we also do not believe potential future consequences should be considered in determining the penal consequences of a conviction. Considering future consequences would be speculative and raises the possibility of disparate treatment in sentencing,” wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb in Fili Moala v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1109-CR-870.

The judges also rejected the state’s argument that it should have the discretion to determine which conviction should be vacated upon a finding of double jeopardy.

They reversed the Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated conviction and ordered the trial court vacate it.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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