COA: Live-in girlfriend asked to leave didn’t trespass

August 19, 2016

A woman who accepted a man’s offer to live in his home and who soon became his lover should not have been convicted of trespass for refusing to leave when he tried to kick her out, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

A jury convicted Jessi Apollos of the Class A misdemeanor and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct after she refused to leave Andre Francois’ home in Indianapolis. She had moved into Francois’ home at his invitation in mid-December 2014. The two soon became involved in a sexual relationship, and she cared for his child in lieu of rent.

But by Jan. 6, 2015, police were at Francois’ home after he repeatedly told Apollos to leave and she refused. Police said Apollos was “upset” and “loud,” and asked her to leave after she could offer no proof she lived there. When she declined an officer’s request to drive her to a shelter, she was arrested.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trespass conviction, but Apollos did not appeal the disorderly conduct judgment.

“Because it is undisputed that Apollos and Francois both understood that they had agreed that Apollos would live in Francois’ residence in exchange for money and/or childcare services, we find that the evidence does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Apollos did not have a contractual interest in the property,” Judge John Baker wrote for the panel in Jessi Apollos v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1601-CR-15.

“In other words, we find that the State failed to disprove contractual interests reasonably apparent from the circumstances under which the trespass allegedly occurred,” Baker wrote. The matter is remanded with instructions to vacate the conviction and accordingly adjust Apollos’ sentence of one year suspended to probation.


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