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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. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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