ILNews

Judges reverse woman’s resisting law enforcement conviction

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Opening a police officer’s car door and refusing to place one’s feet inside the car are not acts constituting forcible resistance, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges reversed a Miami County woman’s conviction of resisting law enforcement.

Officer Roger Bowland and two animal control officers went to Maddox Macy’s home on the report that her neighbor had been bitten by two dogs owned by Macy. Macy made a scene as Bowland left her home to talk to the neighbor, yelling at the officers that her dogs did not bite anyone. She was placed under arrest, handcuffed and placed in the front seat of Bowland’s police car. She somehow opened the shut door, got out and yelled some more. She then refused to place her feet inside the vehicle after Bowland forced her back inside. He picked them up, put them in the car and then shut the door.

Maddox was convicted of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, but she only appealed her resisting conviction.

In Maddox T. Macy v. State of Indiana, 52A02-1309-CR-808, the appeals court noted that the definition of “forcibly” within the resisting law enforcement statute, as outlined in Spangler v. State, 670 N.E.2d 720, 723 (Ind. 1993), has “softened” and become “blurry, to say the least.”

However, each case affirming a conviction of forcible resistance seems to involve, at a minimum, some physical interaction with a law enforcement officer, the judges noted. Macy’s act of opening the car door did not involve any interaction with Bowland, nor was it directed toward him or did it present a threat to him.

“While it is possible that Macy’s conduct may qualify as some other crime, it was not a crime of forcible resistance,” Judge Margret Robb wrote.

The judges also found Macy’s refusal to place her feet inside the vehicle was an act of passive resistance that is not punishable under Indiana Code 35-44.1-3-1(a)(1).

“Finally, we would be remiss not to address the State’s claim that forcible resistance by Macy may be reasonably inferred based on Officer Bowland’s testimony that he had to ‘force’ Macy back into the car and physically pick up her feet and place them in the vehicle,” she wrote. “We disagree for two reasons. First, an officer’s use of force does not establish that the defendant forcibly resisted. Second, on cross-examination, Officer Bowland was asked whether Macy ever physically resisted him, at which point Officer Bowland clarified that Macy resisted his commands. In light of that testimony, we do not believe the evidence supports the State’s proposed inference.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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! :)

ADVERTISEMENT