Conviction upheld against man who disrupted prosecutor’s office

A man who was convicted of trespassing after he refused to leave the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office until his traffic tickets were dismissed lost an appeal Tuesday.

Shawn McBride appeared twice in August 2016 at the prosecutor’s office in Brazil, and both times said he would refuse to leave until his tickets were dismissed. The first time, he was told by a deputy prosecutor that the matter couldn’t be handled that way, and McBride would have to file a motion. McBride repeatedly refused, staying in the office and insisting the matter be handled immediately. The deputy prosecutor eventually called dispatch, and officers came to escort McBride from the office.

A few days later, McBride appeared at the courthouse again, this time with court papers to file seeking dismissal of the tickets. A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the courthouse approached McBride and asked him not to create another disturbance. The sheriff’s deputy testified McBride jumped up and said he would “talk to any f—— body he wants” and “go in any f——- place he wants.”

The deputy prosecutor allowed McBride on his second visit to enter the office only to drop off his papers, but he instead again insisted he would not leave until the tickets were dismissed. The deputy prosecutor said McBride was asked to leave at least 15 times before he was arrested. McBride was charged with several counts, tried on two counts of Class A misdemeanor trespass, but convicted on just one for his second visit to the prosecutor’s office.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction Tuesday in Shawn McBride v. State of Indiana, 11A01-1706-CR-1236. Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel that rejected McBride’s argument that his conviction must be vacated because the state’s action restricted his expressive activity, and that his speech was political. The state claimed McBride had waived those arguments, but the COA addressed them nevertheless.

“Even considering the merits of McBride’s arguments, we cannot say that reversal is warranted,” Brown wrote, noting that speech is not an element of the criminal trespass statute. Likewise, applying a rationality test, there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction in the form of workers who testified that McBride had disrupted the work of the office.

“Under the circumstances, we conclude that the State could have reasonably determined that McBride’s conduct constituted an abuse of his right to speak,” Brown wrote. “Accordingly, McBride’s conviction for trespass did not violate Article 1, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution.”

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