Judges uphold man’s resisting law enforcement conviction

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Finding the evidence to be sufficient to support a man’s conviction of misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction Monday. The judges also found no error in the trial court’s instructions to the jury.

Police responded to a call regarding battery on a person. Freddie Patterson and his cousin appeared intoxicated and did not have any visible injuries. Both said Patterson’s wife, Martha, struck them with her cane. While talking to the wife, Patterson became angry and got in the face of one of the officers in such a manner that the officer felt threatened. When he pushed Patterson back, Patterson charged him again. The two officers struggled to handcuff Patterson and considered using a Taser, but, instead, one officer struck Patterson with an open hand on his face. They were then able to handcuff him.

Patterson was convicted of Class A misdemeanor resisting arrest. In Freddie Patterson v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1311-CR-944, he argued that the evidence doesn’t support his conviction and that the trial court erred by giving an edited version of a jury instruction he tendered and by adding a sentence to another instruction.

The judges rejected Patterson’s claim that the officers used excessive force, thus justifying his actions. They pointed to the officer’s testimony that he felt threatened by Patterson, who was taller and heavier than the officer and that the officers wrestled with Patterson for several minutes before striking him with an open hand in order to handcuff hm.

Patterson claimed the deleted sentence from his tendered jury instruction was an abuse of discretion because none of the other instructions addressed the privilege to resist when an officer uses excessive force. But several other instructions – including the one in which a sentence was removed, adequately addressed Patterson’s right to lawfully resist if the officers used excessive force, Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote.

Also, there was no fundamental error when the court added a sentence suggested by the state regarding forcibly resisting. The judges found the sentence helps to fully define “forcibly resists” and does not present an appellate standard of review as Patterson argued.


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