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Justices toss delinquency ruling for resisting school resource officer

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A high school student’s action of trying to pull away from a school resource officer who tried to handcuff him is insufficient to support his adjudication as a delinquent, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Justices reached that unanimous conclusion in K.W. v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1301-JV-20. The ruling affirms a Court of Appeals reversal of a Marion Superior juvenile court on different grounds. The COA held that there was insufficient evidence that the school resource officer was lawfully engaged in his duties.

The case arose from an Aug. 30, 2011, altercation at Ben Davis High School as K.W., then 15, and another student “faced off” with fists raised in a hallway. A teacher intervened and detained K.W. until the SRO, a sergeant with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, arrived.

The officer attempted to handcuff K.W. when he turned to walk away, after which the officer used a “straight arm-bar takedown” to tackle and handcuff the teen. Justice Loretta Rush wrote that neither the officer’s testimony nor surveillance video of the incident establish forcible resistance.

Rush’s five-page unanimous ruling also invited the Legislature to further clarify the roles of school resource officers; current statutes apply only to their engagement in law enforcement duties.

“It would be within the Legislature’s prerogative to conclude that evolving threats to school security and discipline warrant expanding the resisting law enforcement statute to apply to forcible resistance, obstruction, or interference ‘with a law enforcement, school liaison, or school resource officer, or a person assisting the officer, while the officer is lawfully engaged in the execution of the officer’s duties,’” Rush wrote.

“Not only is such a policy judgment about the changing role of school officers best reserved to a politically responsive branch of government, it would be less likely than common law to cause unintended Fourth Amendment consequences. The Legislature may wish to consider such a change,” the court advised.



 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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