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Justices to decide if defendant was ‘annoying’

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The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether the portion of the public intoxication statute enacted two years ago that uses the term “annoys” is void for vagueness, as the Indiana Court of Appeals held earlier this year.

In February, the COA reversed Rodregus Morgan’s public intoxication conviction, which was based on annoying behavior. Morgan appeared intoxicated at an Indianapolis bus stop and was arrested by an officer, who identified his behavior as “annoying.”

The appellate judges found the challenged portion of I.C. 7.1-5-1-3, the public intoxication statute, to be unconstitutionally vague.

“Namely, the statute neither requires that a defendant have specifically intended to annoy another, nor does it employ an objective standard to assess whether a defendant’s conduct would be annoying to a reasonable person,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote. “Furthermore, the statute does not mandate that the defendant have been first warned that his behavior was considered annoying conduct. Instead, this section of the statute enables arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement because the illegality of any conduct — no matter how trivial or how substantial — is based solely on the subjective feelings of a particular person at any given time,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the panel.

Rodregus Morgan v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1405-CR-325, was the only case the justices accepted on transfer last week. They denied transfer to 15 cases, including Mark S. Weinberger, M.D. v. Estate of Phyllis R. Barnes, Deceased, By Peggy Hood as Personal Representative, Joe Clinkenbeard, P.A., et al., 45A04-1107-CT-369, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals denied the state’s motion to intervene in a settlement reached between former doctor Mark Weinberger and the estate of former patient Phyllis Barnes.

The justices also decided 3-2 to vacate their previous grant of transfer to Curtis F. Sample Jr. v. State of Indiana, 45S03-1401-CR-11.  In a not-for-publication decision Sept. 19, 2013, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court finding of being a habitual offender on remand from the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justice Robert Rucker voted to keep the case on the Supreme Court’s docket.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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