The Indiana Supreme Court will weigh whether a student who resisted being handcuffed by a school resource officer merits adjudication as a delinquent for the equivalent of Class D felony resisting law enforcement.
Justices granted transfer to K.W. v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1301-JV-20, one of five cases the Supreme Court agreed to review in the week ending Jan. 11. Transfer was denied in 17 cases. The transfer dispositions may be viewed here.
K.W. was a 15-year-old Ben Davis High School student in Indianapolis when he and another student faced off with fists raised indicating they were about to fight. A teacher broke up the confrontation, and school liaison officer Eugene Smith, who serves as an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer employed by the school, later placed a handcuff on one of K.W.’s wrists, but the student pulled away.
Smith then initiated a “straight-arm takedown” and struggled with the student and sustained injuries in the process. After a hearing, K.W. was adjudicated a delinquent child on a charge of Class D felony resisting law enforcement when committed by an adult.
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in a unanimous opinion written by Judge Edward Najam, holding that a school resource officer is not a performing official duties of a law enforcement officer under the resisting statute, therefore Indiana Code 35-44-3-3 may not apply.
The justices also granted transfer in these cases:
- F.D., G.D., and T.D. b/n/f J.D. and M.D.; J.D. and M.D., Individually v. Indiana Department of Family Services, Vanderburgh County Office of Family and Social Services, Evansville Police Department, and Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office, 82S01-1301-CT-19. The trial court held and a divided Court of Appeals affirmed that I.C. 31-33-18-4 requiring the Department of Child Services to notify parents of allegations of molestation does not confer a private right of action.
- Courtney L. Schwartz v. Jodi S. Heeter, 02S03-1301-DR-18, in which the Court of Appeals was divided over which guidelines to use in determining child support in a “true-up” agreement.
- Kirk B. Lynch v. State of Indiana, 40S05-1301-CR-23, in which the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a conviction for attempted child molesting but vacated a conviction for child solicitation, and but were divided over revising the sentence from 40 years in prison to 25 years in prison.
- Calvin W. Merida v. State of Indiana, 69S01-1301-CR-24, in which a divided COA panel reduced a man’s sentence on two counts of child molestation from 60 years to 30 years in prison.