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.


  • 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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.