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Panel dismisses contempt appeal as moot

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A man held in contempt of court after a judge determined he threatened witnesses in his brother’s murder case had his appeal dismissed Tuesday.

A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed Dayron Bell’s appeal as moot because he had served his sentence. Only one of the four appellate issues he raised as justifying review was considered: whether the public interest exception justified appeal.

In Dayron Bell v. State of Indiana, 82A01-1306-CR-271, Bell appealed a finding that he was in direct contempt of court, arguing instead that he should have been held in indirect contempt for comments he made outside the courtroom to witnesses in the murder trial of his brother, Christopher.

Dayron Bell was ordered jailed for the duration of the trial, after which he was formally sentenced to serve 90 days in the Vanderburgh County Jail with no good time credit. His sentence was completed in August.

On appeal, he argued the court should use the public interest exception because: he claimed he was denied due process; that a similar situation was likely to arise again, so the court should weigh whether the incident was direct or indirect contempt; and that the court should review whether the denial of credit for time served was proper.

“Nothing in the facts of Bell’s case persuades this court that the issues raised by Bell are of ‘great public importance,’” Judge Edward Najam wrote for the panel, noting his appeal conflates the public-interest exception with error review. "That is not the purpose of this limited exception, and we will not deviate from our general rule of not deciding moot cases based on these facts. Accordingly, we decline Bell’s invitation to apply the public interest exception to this appeal, and we dismiss Bell’s appeal as moot.”  

 


 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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