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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 5 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In Robin Harper v. State of Indiana , a 10-page opinion, Judge Mathias writes:

In emergencies, law enforcement officers are often called upon to make splitsecond judgments as they do the dangerous work of protecting us all, judgments that we in a civil society endeavor to support as much as possible. But when, without any exigent circumstances, and after being denied consensual entry, a law enforcement officer lies to gain entry into someone’s home, is that officer “. . . lawfully engaged in the execution of the officer’s duties . . .” so as to justify the arrest of the owner or renter of the home and to charge her with the crime of resisting law enforcement? We answer this question in the negative and reverse Robin Harper’s Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction. * * *

So, even though Harper expressly told the officers that they could not enter her home and had no reason to be inside her house, when Harper took Officer Gillespie’s clipboard, the two officers entered the home. After Harper returned the clipboard to the officers, Officer Gillespie immediately placed her in handcuffs, with her hands behind her back. * * *

[T]he State urges us to conclude that the “ruse” perpetrated by Officer Gillespie to gain entry to Harper’s home is not significant to the outcome of this appeal. We do not agree. Indeed, the manner in which the officers gained entry to Harper’s home is at the core of our concern and holding. Public trust and confidence in law enforcement officers would surely be eroded if we were to sanction an officer’s fraudulent statements or activity in order to enter a residence when there were no exigent circumstances to justify such conduct. Implicitly acknowledging this public policy concern, our courts have held that “[c]onsent to entry is generally valid except when it is procured by fraud, duress, fear, intimidation, or when it is merely a submission to the supremacy of the law.” * * *

Although Officer Gillespie’s purpose for entering Harper’s home was to arrest her, he was still required to obtain an arrest warrant before entering her private residence. This was not a situation of hot pursuit or a crime committed in the presence of the officer. The State does not argue any other exigent circumstances, or any reason at all, that would have made it impracticable for Officer Gillespie to obtain an arrest warrant. * * *

For all of these reasons, we conclude that Officers Gillespie and Hartman unlawfully entered Harper’s residence, and therefore, the officers were not engaged in the lawful execution of their duties at the time they arrested Harper and then attempted to remove her wedding ring in preparation for booking. Accordingly, the evidence is insufficient to support Harper’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and we reverse that conviction.

In Chad E. Hucker v. State of Indiana , a 6-page opinion, Judge Robb writes:
Chad E. Hucker appeals his convictions for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance, both Class C misdemeanors. Hucker raises a single issue for our review: whether Indiana Code section 9-30-5-1(c), which proscribes the operation of a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance, violates Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution (the “Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause”). Concluding the statute does not violate the Indiana Constitution’s Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause, we affirm.
NFP civil opinions today (3):

Robert D. Stephens, Ryan Moe, Thomas Theohary, and Law Enforcement Technologies, Inc. v. Brian A. Costa and Amy Costa (NFP)

Jacquelyn Webster Green, as personal representative of the estate of Mary A. Webster, deceased v. Housing Authority of the City of Gary, Indiana, et al. (NFP)

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: L.C., Minor Child, R.C., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (2):

Rita Thompson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dennis Powers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 26, 2014 01:12 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions