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Woman fails to prove animal fighting statute is unconstitutionally vague

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A Marion County woman failed to carry her “heavy burden” of proving that Indiana Code 35-46-3-10, which governs dog fights, is unconstitutionally vague, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

Alice Lee appealed her Class A misdemeanor conviction of attendance at an animal fighting contest. Police received a tip from a confidential informant about a dog fight occurring at an Indianapolis residence. Lee was in the garage where the fight was occurring, but told police she was just there to pick up her pit bull, which was in her car in the driveway.

She contended in Alice Lee v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1112-CR-1090, the word “attends” in I.C. 35-46-3-10, is so vague as to make the statute unconstitutional. The statute says “a person who knowingly or intentionally attends a fighting contest involving animals commits cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor.” An “animal fighting contest” is a conflict between two or more animals, doesn’t include a conflict that is accidental or unorganized, and “animal” does not include human being.

Lee argued that the statute could lead to someone being arrested if they watched a dog fight on the Internet, a simulation of a fight for a movie, watched a friend feed a mouse to a pet snake, or attended a circus and watched a man box with a kangaroo or wrestle a bear.

The statute makes clear that the scenarios Lee proposed would not fall under the statute, Judge James Kirsch wrote. He did note that the court “reserve(d) for another day the question of whether a person who pays to watch an animal fight live on the Internet can be said to be attending an animal fighting contest.”

 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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