Archive for 2012

Case Update: Criminal Liability for Protected Persons and No-Contact Orders

The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed whether a protected person can be held criminally liable for aiding, inducing, or causing another person to violate the no-contact order today in Melissa Patterson v. State of Indiana. Patterson obtained a no-contact order against her fiance after an incident where she was the victim of domestic battery. She was subsequently found to be living with him, and she was later charged with aiding a violation of the no-contact order.

In a case of first impression in Indiana, Judge Friedlander wrote for a 2-1 majority that “the General Assembly did not intend that the prohibitions in I.C. ยง 35-46-1-15.1 should be applied to a protected person under a no-contact order.” Citing the Ohio Supreme Court case of State v. Lucas, 795 N.E.2d 642 (Ohio 2003), the majority recognized a compelling public policy interest in insulating the protected person from prosecution, because otherwise “a violator of a protection order could create a real chill on the reporting of the violation by simply threatening to claim that an illegal visit was the result of an illegal invitation.”

Case Update: Delay in Notice of an Habitual Traffic Violator Suspension

The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed delay in notifying a driver of an habitual traffic violator suspension today in Thomas v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Thomas was notified by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles that he was being suspended as an habitual traffic violator about 3 1/2 years following his last qualifying offense.

Relying on the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision in Ind. Spine Group, PC v. Pilot Travel Ctrs, LLC, 959 N.E.2d 789 (Ind. 2011), Judge Bradford wrote for the Court that the general 10 year statute of limitations period from Ind. Code 34-11-1-2 applied, making the notice timely. The Court also rejected Thomas’s argument that the doctrine of laches applied to defeat his suspension, reasoning that the public interest was served by his suspension. But the Court’s opinion does not appear to completely foreclose the possibility of invoking laches in future HTV notice cases.

The Dog Day Is Over

The United States Supreme Court held oral argument today in two cases involving the use of drug-sniffing dogs originating from Florida.

Florida v. Jardines, case no. 11-564, concerns the propriety of using a drug-sniffing dog to search private property. Florida v. Harris, case no. 11-817, concerns the amount of evidence of training required before a court can use a drug dog alert as a basis for a search. Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has an excellent summary of the cases.

Professor Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy speculates that the justices will conclude the use of the drug-sniffing dog on private property in Jardines was violative of the Fourth Amendment, and that the training of the dog in Harris was adequate and therefore not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.


J. J. Paul, III, in NACDL’s The Champion

The August 2012 issue of NACDL’s The Champion features an article co-written by J. J. Paul, III titled NHTSA’s Visual Cues for Impairment of Motorcyclists. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers publishes The Champion ten times per year. Members can access the full article here.

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