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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. why is the State trying to play GOD? Automatic sealing of a record is immoral. People should have the right to decide how to handle a record. the state is playing GOD. I have searched for decades, then you want me to pay someone a huge price to contact my son. THIS is extortion and gestapo control. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW.

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  3. Out here in Kansas, where I now work as a government attorney, we are nearing the end of a process that could have relevance in this matter: "Senate Bill 45 would allow any adult otherwise able to possess a handgun under state and federal laws to carry that gun concealed as a matter of course without a permit. This move, commonly called constitutional carry, would elevate the state to the same club that Vermont, Arizona, Alaska and Wyoming have joined in the past generation." More reading here: http://www.guns.com/2015/03/18/kansas-house-panel-goes-all-in-on-constitutional-carry-measure/ Time to man up, Hoosiers. (And I do not mean that in a sexist way.)

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