ILNews

Tests not required to disprove arrestee intoxication

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In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s argument that the Indiana Code requires law enforcement personnel to evaluate if there could be other reasons a person is displaying signs of intoxication before arresting her for public intoxication.

Indiana Code 12-23-15-2 says, “An individual to be taken to the city lock-up or county jail shall be evaluated at the earliest possible time for nonalcoholic factors that may be contributing to the appearance of intoxication.”

Annette Pittman was arrested by police officer Ivalee Craney at a gas station on suspicion of public intoxication. Pittman appeared to be drunk and refused to leave the gas station after asked by employees.

Pittman argued on appeal that the state didn’t follow I.C. 12-23-15-2 and determine if some other reason could have caused her speech to be slurred, be unsteady on her feet, and to smell of alcohol. Pittman’s conviction is based solely on Craney’s observation of Pittman’s behavior and condition at the gas station.

The COA found no cases discussing the statute in question and Parker v. State, 530 N.E.2d 128 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998), which discusses the statute’s predecessor, only reflects that the provision does not compel the state to administer a chemical sobriety test or other test.

Pittman claimed the statute requires medical or scientific testing to rule out other causes of intoxication symptoms, but her argument would place a large burden on the state to disprove a subject’s behavior was caused by anything other than alcohol, the judges ruled.
 
“I.C. § 12-23-15-2 did not require Officer Craney, or other law enforcement personnel elsewhere, to perform an evaluation so thorough as to eliminate all other possible causes for each of the symptoms of alcoholic intoxication that Pittman exhibited,” Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote. “Although we can envision scenarios that would warrant further evaluation, including but not limited to those involving behavior reasonably suggestive of mental illness or dementia, this was not one of them. The dictates of I.C. § 12-23-15-2 were satisfied. This being Pittman’s only challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, the challenge fails.”

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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