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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, reading reasonable person standard into public intoxication law

In Rodregus Morgan v. State of Indiana, a 13-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice David writes:

Rodregus Morgan was convicted under Indiana’s public intoxication statute for being intoxicated in a public place and engaging in annoying conduct. Morgan challenges his conviction on two possible grounds. First, that the Indiana public intoxication statute is unconstitutionally vague. Second, that there was insufficient evidence for his conviction. * * *

[W]e uphold the constitutionality of Indiana’s public intoxication statute, Ind. Code § 7.1-5-1-3, by reading a reasonableness standard into “annoys.” * * *

[Here] the requirements for conviction under Indiana’s public intoxication statute have not been met, and there is insufficient evidence to sustain Morgan’s conviction. * * *

Conclusion. An objective reasonable person standard should be read into Indiana’s public intoxication statute when applying the term “annoys.” Under that reading, the statute is not unconstitutionally vague. Furthermore, in applying the reasonableness standard, there is insufficient evidence to sustain Morgan’s conviction for public intoxication. We therefore vacate Morgan’s conviction for Count II Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 18, 2014 11:55 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions