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Woman who invited abusive spouse did not violate no-contact protective order

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In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the Indiana General Assembly was deliberate when it did not criminalize the violation of a protective order by the protected person.

The COA, in Melissa Patterson v. State of Indiana, 34A02-1203-CR-235, reversed and remanded the trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss two counts of aiding, inducing, or causing invasion of privacy as a Class A misdemeanor.  

Melissa Patterson obtained a no-contact order against her finance, Gregory Darden, following an incident of domestic battery. Twice afterward, Patterson was found with Darden and was arrested for violating the no-contact order.

She argued the trial court erred in denying her motion to dismiss the charges of aiding, inducing, or causing the invasion of privacy because the Legislature did not intend for I.C. 35-46-1-15.1 to criminalize the conduct of a protected person under the no-contract order in question.

The COA agreed, holding Indiana’s statute does not criminalize a protected person’s actions that invite or acquiesce in the violation of the no-contact order by the subject.

“The bottom line is that our General Assembly has made it abundantly clear that it recognized the possibility that orders intended to protect persons from domestic violence are issued in settings in which the protected person might invite the subject of the order to enter the forbidden zone and thus violate the order,” Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote. “Its failure to criminalize activity that, in two separate instances, it recognized might invite a violation of the order, must be viewed not as an omission, but as a determination that such should not be criminalized.”

Judge Rudolph Pyle III dissented, contending the plain language of the statute permits the prosecution of a protected person who deliberately helps another disobey a court order for protection.

“While the majority’s policy position may, in fact, be consonant with the General Assembly’s intent, I believe it should be left for the legislative branch to explicitly exclude the prosecution of protected persons,” he wrote.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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