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Justices reverse resisting conviction for man who walked from police

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A man who walked away from police after they ordered him to stop was wrongly convicted of resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Supreme Court held Friday in one of two cases that reviewed the statute.

“A person's well-established freedom to walk away is … violated when that person is subjected to a statute that makes it a criminal offense to decline a police order to stop,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the court in Keion Gaddie v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1312-CR-789.

“To hold that a citizen may be criminally prosecuted for fleeing after being ordered to stop by a law enforcement officer lacking reasonable suspicion or probable cause to command such an involuntary detention would undermine longstanding search and seizure precedent that establishes the principle that an individual has a right to ignore police and go about his business,” Dickson wrote.

Gaddie was on his property when police responded to a nighttime disturbance involving a number of people. As police arrived and ordered everyone to the front yard of the property, Gaddie walked toward the back, and kept walking as an officer identified himself and ordered him to stop.

Gaddie was convicted after a bench trial at which he testified that he had been preparing to leave before police arrived. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, and the Supreme Court agreed.

“To avoid conflict with the Fourth Amendment, Indiana Code section 35-44.1-3-1(a)(3), the statute defining the offense of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing after being ordered to stop must be construed to require that a law enforcement officer’s order to stop be based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause,” the court held.

“Under the facts and circumstances of this case, a reasonable trier of fact could not have found that the officer's order to stop was based on such probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The evidence was thus insufficient to convict the defendant.”

Separately, the court applied its holding in Gaddie Friday in another case as it sought to put to rest conflicts among various Court of Appeals opinions.

Justices affirmed the conviction under the same statute in Donald Murdock v. State of Indiana, 48S02-1406-CR-415. In Murdock, an officer responded to a report of a suspect running away from another officer at nighttime, was “engaged in furtive and evasive activity in a high-crime area, was uncooperative, and matched the description of the suspect,” Dickson wrote.

“The evidence and its reasonable inferences clearly established that the defendant knowingly or intentionally fled from a law enforcement officer’s order to stop that was based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and thus committed the offense of Resisting Law Enforcement,” the court held.







 

 

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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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