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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. 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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