A mother who made threatening statements toward law enforcement on Facebook after the death of her son will not have her case heard by the Indiana Supreme Court, although two justices voted to grant transfer in the case.
Members of the Supreme Court denied petition to transfer in 31 cases last week, including Constance J. McGuire v. State of Indiana, 18A-CR-2554, in which Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Christopher Goff would have granted transfer.
In that case, Constance McGuire was convicted of Class B misdemeanor harassment after she posted on Facebook that members of the Kokomo Police Department “better watch out” and that “this mother is on a rampage and ready to shoot and kill” following the death of her son. McGuire’s son died after consuming methamphetamine during a traffic stop in which a Kokomo police officer was involved.
McGuire argued to the Indiana Court of Appeals that her specific Facebook posts were constitutionally protected and that her conviction amounted to an unconstitutional infringement of her freedom of speech. However, a divided appellate panel affirmed McGuire’s harassment conviction.
Judge Rudolph Pyle dissented in a separate opinion, finding no evidence was introduced showing McGuire’s Facebook posts fit within an unprotected category and arguing that the state failed by charging her with harassment instead of intimidation. Pyle also asserted that the harassment statute is “unconstitutionally overbroad.”
Additionally, Supreme Court justices also declined to hear the case of The City of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, the Mayor of the City of Lawrenceburg in his official capacity, et al. v. Franklin County, Indiana, et al., with Justice Steven David and Justice Goff voting to grant transfer. A partially divided COA determined that the City of Lawrenceburg and Franklin County’s agreement to share tax revenue from a southeastern Indiana riverboat casino is void, reversing and remanding for final judgment to be entered for Lawrenceburg. Judge Margret Robb concurred in a separate opinion but disagreed in a partial dissent that the parties’ agreement was void.
Likewise, Justices Geoffrey Slaughter and Mark Massa unsuccessfully voted to hear argument in State of Indiana v. O.E.W., 18A-JV-2409, in which the COA upheld a then-15-year-old’s murder conviction. Judge Elaine Brown had dissented from the appellate court’s ruling on the trial court’s motion to suppress.
Supreme Court justices last week granted transfer in one case, In the Matter of the Adoption of C.A.H., Minor Child, A.C.S. v. R.S.E. and R.K.E., 19S-AD-240, unanimously reversing the adoption case and holding that a parent’s implied consent to the adoption may not be based solely on their failure to appear at a single hearing.
The full list of transfer decisions for the week ending Jan. 10 can be found here.