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Justices divided over man’s conviction of criminal trespass

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The state failed to prove an essential element of criminal trespass, according to one Indiana justice, so he dissented from his colleagues’ decision to uphold a man’s conviction stemming from his refusal to leave his bank.

In Walter Lyles v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1201-CR-49, Walter Lyles appealed his conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass. He went to a branch of his bank to receive a free print out of his account, but the bank policy requires a $6 fee for a statement. He became “irate and disrespectful” and was asked to leave several times by bank employees. A police officer came when Lyles refused to leave and arrested him after asking him multiple times to leave.

The Court of Appeals reversed.

Lyles argued that there was insufficient evidence for the trier of fact to infer that he lacked a contractual interest in the real property of the bank. The term “contractual interest in the property” isn’t defined in the criminal trespass statute or anywhere else in Indiana Code.

“At trial, there was evidence that the defendant was neither an owner nor an employee of the bank as well as evidence that the bank manager had authority to ask customers to leave the bank premises. This evidence, taken together, refuted each of the most reasonably apparent sources from which a person in the defendant's circumstances might have derived a contractual interest in the bank's real property: as an owner, as an employee, and as an account holder. Thus, we hold that there was sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer that the defendant did not have a contractual interest in the bank's real property,” wrote Chief Justice Brent Dickson for the majority.

Justice Robert Rucker dissented, citing Court of Appeals caselaw that defines “contractual interest” in the criminal trespass statute as the right to be present on another person’s property, arising out of an agreement between at least two parties that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.

Based on existing precedent, Lyles had a contractual interest in the bank’s premises and his conviction for criminal trespass can’t stand. Evidence may have supported a disorderly conduct conviction, but the state did not charge him with that, Rucker wrote.
 

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  • Chase
    Just another example of the poor little guy (obviously, since he had a public defender) getting screwed by the morons at IMPD, our corrupt courts, and the big monster mega bank called Chase (which should have been allowed to fail during the financial crisis of 2008). I'm sure the report says IMPD officer asked him to leave multiple times, but they frequently falsify police reports, and the judges take them at their word.

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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