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Man arrested for public intox at gas station has conviction reversed

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Based on the language of the recently amended statute defining public intoxication, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s conviction due to lack of evidence that he endangered his life or the life of someone else.

When police officer Michael Agresta came out of the restroom at a gas station while on patrol, he was notified by the cashier that customer Tin Thang was possibly intoxicated. Thang was unsteady, smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. He also saw a car in the parking lot that wasn’t there before and keys in Thang’s hands. The car belonged to Thang.

Thang was charged with and convicted of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication at a bench trial.

In Tin Thang v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1303-CR-110, Judge Terry Crone noted that the recent timing of the amendment “leaves us with little precedent concerning the new language.” The statute says it is a Class B misdemeanor for someone to be in a public place in a state of intoxication if the person: endangers his or her own life; endangers the life of another person; breaches the peace or is in imminent danger of breaching the peace; or harasses, annoys or alarms another person.

The judges agreed with Thang that he did not “alarm” the cashier for purposes of the statute. The cashier, who did not testify at trial, simply alerted Agresta that Thang may be intoxicated. There’s also insufficient evidence to support that Thang endangered himself or others by driving to the gas station while intoxicated. Again, the cashier did not testify at trial and Agresta, the only person who did testify, did not see Thang drive.
 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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