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Friday, June 27, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides several more today

In Keion Gaddie v. State of Indiana, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Chief Justice Dickson writes:

Following a bench trial, Keion Gaddie was convicted of Resisting Law Enforcement as a Class A misdemeanor. His appeal argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. The Court of Appeals reversed. Gaddie v. State, 991 N.E.2d 137 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013). We reach the same result but granted transfer to put to rest a conflict among various decisions in the Court of Appeals. * * *

The defendant relies upon cases applying the Fourth Amendment to hold that an individual has a duty to stop only if the encounter with police is an arrest or detention based upon probable cause or an investigatory stop based upon a reasonable and articulable suspicion that criminal activity may be afoot. See Briggs v. State, 873 N.E.2d 129, 132 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), trans. denied; Bovie v. State, 760 N.E.2d 1195, 1197 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), trans. not sought. The State, in turn, cites to a line of cases[2] which largely trace back to Corbin v. State, 568 N.E.2d 1064, 1065 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991), trans. not sought, for the proposition that the lawfulness of the order is irrelevant because the statute defining the offense does not expressly condition the offense upon a lawful order. * * *

For these reasons, in order to interpret the statute as constitutional, we hold that the statu-tory element "after the officer has . . . ordered the person to stop" must be understood to require that such order to stop rest on probable cause or reasonable suspicion, that is, specific, articulable facts that would lead the officer to reasonably suspect that criminal activity is afoot. Absent proof that an officer's order to stop meets such requirements, the evidence will be insufficient to establish the offense of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing. * * *

To avoid conflict with the Fourth Amendment, Indiana Code section 35-44.1-3-1(a)(3), the statute defining the offense of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing after being ordered to stop must be construed to require that a law enforcement officer's order to stop be based on rea-sonable suspicion or probable cause. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, a reasona-ble trier of fact could not have found that the officer's order to stop was based on such probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The evidence was thus insufficient to convict the defendant of the crime of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing a police order to stop. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.
[2] Yowler v. State, 894 N.E.2d 1000, 1004 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), trans. not sought; Cole v. State, 878 N.E.2d 882, 886 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), trans. not sought; Dandridge v. State, 810 N.E.2d 746, 749 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), trans. denied; State v. Howell, 782 N.E.2d 1066, 1067 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003), trans. not sought; Lashley v. State, 745 N.E.2d 254, 261 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001), trans. denied; see also Alspach v. State, 755 N.E.2d 209, 211 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001) (addressing the right to resist with reasonable force an unlawful arrest by police), trans. denied. To the extent reasonable suspicion may be required for an investigatory stop, the State also relies on Williams v. State, 959 N.E.2d 357, 359 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), trans. denied.

In Donald Murdock v. State of Indiana, a 4-page, 5-0 opinion, Chief Justice Dickson writes:
Donald Murdock was found to have violated the terms of his probation when he committed a new offense: Resisting Law Enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor. His appeal argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the revocation of his probation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the revocation. Murdock v. State, 5 N.E.3d 792 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014). We grant transfer and likewise find the evidence sufficient to prove the elements of Resisting Law Enforcement—but we do so based on the reasoning used in our decision today in Gaddie v. State, No. 49S02-1312-CR-789, ___ N.E.3d ___ (Ind. 2014), where we found the evidence insufficient.
In Dexter Berry v. State of Indiana, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion in a pro se case, Justice Rush writes:
In the absence of a plea agreement, trial courts have broad discretion to set conditions of probation, including “substantial punitive obligations” such as restrictive placements in work release. But when a trial court accepts a plea agreement with an executed time cap, its discretion to impose further punitive conditions of probation does not extend beyond what the plea agreement specifies. As we interpret Defendant’s plea agreement, it conferred discretion to determine the placement of his executed sentence, but not for any further restrictive placement as a condition of probation. Defendant’s one-year term in work release as a condition of probation, following the maximum executed term allowed under the agreement, thus exceeded the court’s authority. We therefore grant transfer and remand with instructions to accept or reject the plea agreement as written, and if accepted, to resentence Defendant consistent with its terms. In all other respects, we summarily affirm the Court of Appeals. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A)(2).
In Tin Thang v. State of Indiana, a 13-page, 3-2 opinion, Chief Justice Dickson writes:
Following a bench trial, defendant Tin Thang was convicted for Public Intoxication, a class B misdemeanor. He appeals his conviction, arguing that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to prove one of the statutory elements for Public Intoxication—that he had endangered himself or others. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed Thang's conviction. Thang v. State, 2 N.E.3d 702 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013). We granted transfer and now affirm the trial court. * * *

In the present case, the undisputed evidence established the sudden presence of the de-fendant and his vehicle at a gas station, his intoxication, his possession of the car keys, and the absence of any other person, thus necessitating removal of the car by towing. From these facts, it is a reasonable inference that the defendant had arrived at the gas station by driving his automobile on the public streets while intoxicated, thereby endangering his or another person's life.

The trial court could reasonably conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had been intoxicated in a public place while endangering the life of himself or others. We reject the defendant's claim of insufficient evidence and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rush and Massa, JJ., concur.
David, J., dissents with separate opinion [which begins on p. 7] in which Rucker, J., joins.

It is undisputed that the evidence presented at Thang’s trial was sufficient to show that he was intoxicated. And I can agree with my colleagues that reasonable inferences drawn from the evidence could lead a reasonable fact-finder to conclude that Thang drove his vehicle to the gas station—and, presumably, drove on a public street in doing so. For that matter, I concur in the majority’s interpretation of Moore. But because I believe the relevant criminal statute requires the State to prove more than just this, and because I feel it failed to do so, I cannot join the majority. * * *

The better way forward, I think, would be to use the same approach for both statutes: evidence of intoxication, standing alone, cannot also serve as the evidence that the defendant charged with public intoxication endangered himself or herself, or another person.[4]

This is not how we have chosen to interpret our OWI statutes and I see no reason to in-terpret identical terms in the public intoxication statute—particularly in this factual context—any differently. The majority opinion does not give us clear guidance going forward. And because I believe the State failed to show that Thang endangered himself or another person—beyond its at-best circumstantial showing of intoxicated driving—I therefore vote to reverse the trial court.
[4] This, in fact, is what the Court of Appeals seems to already be doing. See Sesay v. State, 5 N.E.3d 478, 484–85 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) (applying rationale from Vanderlinden and Outlaw to Ind. Code § 7.1-5-1-3(a)(1)). “Here, too, something more than mere intoxication is now required to prove a person has committed the crime of public intoxication. The State conceded as much at oral argument.” Id. at 485; see also id. at 487 (Bradford, J., concurring in result). (“Intoxication alone is insufficient to sustain a finding of endangerment.”). The majority’s decision today thus overrules Sesay without mentioning it.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 27, 2014 12:04 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions