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Resisting conviction reversed, but meth convictions stand

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A man who was convicted of multiple methamphetamine felonies had his misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction reversed, but the Court of Appeals was not persuaded to overturn his drug convictions.

A Howard Superior jury convicted Jerry Vanzyll of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felonies of possession of meth and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. He also was convicted of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison with 12 years executed.

The Court of Appeals ruled in Jerry Vanzyll v. State of Indiana, 34A02-1111-CR-1050, that crime scene evidence was sufficient to affirm the drug convictions and that a guard’s testimony about a letter that Vanzyll wrote in jail was admissible. But the appellate panel said the evidence of resisting law enforcement was insufficient to sustain that conviction.

“Vanzyll accurately observes that he ‘had no obligation to comply with officer’s [sic] requests that he answer the door … (citing Hardister v. State, 849 N.E.2d 563 (Ind. 2006),” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the court. “And the state concedes that Vanzyll was not required to open the door to the officers when they knocked, but argues that he committed resisting law enforcement when he ran back inside the house.”

“Vanzyll did not leave his residence, and he had no obligation to do so when (police) knocked on the front door. Vanzyll was never given a command to stop,” Mathias wrote. “Although Vanzyll did not immediately comply with (an officer’s) order, he did exit peaceably after a short period of time had elapsed.

“Under these facts and circumstances we conclude that the state’s evidence was not sufficient to prove that Vanzyll fled,” the opinion says. “We therefore reverse his resisting law enforcement conviction and remand this case to the trial court with instructions to vacate its judgment of conviction and sentence on that count.”

 

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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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