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Man’s defense of necessity argument fails on appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a reasonable jury could find that a man’s actions in trying to prevent his girlfriend from using cocaine were disproportionate to the harm avoided if she had used the drug, thus putting an end to his defense of necessity claim. The judges upheld Gerald Clemons’ possession of cocaine conviction.

Police responded to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex involving Clemons and his girlfriend Kayla Conner. Police saw blood on the walls and handrail leading to the apartment and heard Clemons threatening to kill Conner through their apartment door. Once inside, officers saw blood throughout the apartment and found a bloodied Conner in the bathtub. The officers found cocaine in Clemons’ sock.

He was convicted of Class D felony possession of cocaine, but the judge reduced it to a Class A misdemeanor.

Clemons argued in Gerald Clemons v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1210-CR-587, that while he was in possession of the cocaine discovered in his sock, the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his possession of the drug was not justified by reason of necessity. He claimed that – and Conner testified at his trial to the same – that Conner wanted to use the drug and he was keeping it from her. The situation escalated as he tried to prevent her from using the drug, he argued.

But Clemons didn’t tell officers that he was holding it to keep Conner from using the drug, Conner was seriously injured by Clemons, and an officer heard Clemons threaten to kill her.

“Even if the jury believed that Clemons’s act of possession of the cocaine was to prevent Conner from using or abusing the drug, a reasonable jury could find, based upon the testimony and evidence presented, that there was an adequate alternative to Clemons’s actions, that the harm caused by his actions was disproportionate to the harm avoided, that Clemons did not have a good faith belief that his actions were necessary to prevent greater harm, that his belief that his actions were necessary was not objectively reasonable under all the circumstances, or that Clemons substantially contributed to the creation of the emergency,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.
 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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