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Supreme Court takes public intoxication case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will rule on whether a woman’s conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication should be reversed because she wasn’t in a public place within the meaning of Indiana Code at the time police stopped her car. This issue divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, which reversed Brenda Moore’s conviction.

The justices accepted the case, Brenda Moore v. State of Indiana, No. 49S04-1101-CR-24. The majority on the Court of Appeals used Miles v. State, 247 Ind. 423, 425 216 N.E.2d 847, 849 (1966) to support their decision. Moore’s friend was driving Moore’s car because he needed to go somewhere and Moore was too drunk to drive. He was driving with Moore in the front seat. Police pulled over the car for a non-working license plate light. The friend didn’t have a valid license and Moore admitted she couldn’t drive because she was drunk.

The majority found the facts of the instant case to be different from Miles, in which a truck diver was slumped over his steering wheel in his running tractor-trailer cab parked on the side of a highway. That driver was considered to be drunk in public for purposes of the statute.

Judge Margret Robb also wrote that the purpose of the statute is to prevent intoxicated people from threatening the safety of others and under the circumstances of this case, Moore wasn’t intoxicated in a public place within the meaning of Indiana Code Section 7.1-5-1-3. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented, believing it’s up to legislature to address this issue.

The justices denied transfer to 16 cases for the week ending Jan. 14, including Lawane Chaney, et al. v. Clarian Health Partners, Inc., No. 49A05-0905-CV-263. In that not-for-publication decision, Ronald Weldy, the former counsel for Lawane Chaney, appealed the sanctions imposed against him under Indiana Trial Rule 37 as purported class counsel. The Court of Appeals affirmed there was a legal basis for the sanction imposed.

According to the docket, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Steven David would also consider a petition for damages, including attorney fees, pursuant to Appellate Rule 66(E).

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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