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Brown v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 1, 2014

JAMES BROWN, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable William E. Young, Senior Judge. Cause No. 49F07-1309-CM-58029.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: SUZY ST. JOHN, Marion County Public Defender, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, RICHARD C. WEBSTER, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BAKER, Judge. KIRSCH, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

BAKER, Judge

At approximately 2:30 AM on September 2, 2013, James Brown ran into a woman on the street because he was drunk and seemingly unaware of his surroundings. In this case, we are asked to determine whether or not his actions violated the Indiana public intoxication statute.

James Brown appeals his conviction for Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.[1] He contends that the evidence is insufficient to prove public intoxication because

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the State cannot demonstrate that he meets one of the four necessary conduct elements set forth in the statute. More specifically, he argues that he did not breach the peace and was not in imminent danger of breaching the peace. Notwithstanding his contention, the evidence demonstrates that Brown showed signs of intoxication, such as glassy and bloodshot eyes, a staggered walk, and the odor of alcohol. Moreover, he walked directly into a woman after exiting the combined entrance to Sky Bar/Caps and Dolls/Crackers Comedy Club in Indianapolis. As a result, the woman began to yell at him and attracted the attention of a nearby officer. This evidence is sufficient to prove public intoxication because Brown demonstrated signs of intoxication while he was in a public place, and he harassed, annoyed, or alarmed another person. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

FACTS

On September 2, 2013, Officer Joseph McAtee was standing on the sidewalk at the entrance of Sky Bar when he observed Brown exiting the bar. Brown walked out of the bar at a normal pace and ran directly into a woman who was standing in the middle of the sidewalk. The woman began to yell at Brown, so Officer McAtee approached them to stop the woman from yelling. He also told Brown to stop, but Brown ignored him and kept walking until he was stopped by Officer Jamal Bill approximately fifteen feet north of Officer McAtee.

When Officer McAtee approached Brown, he observed that Brown's eyes were " extremely glassy and bloodshot," and " [h]e smelled very strongly of alcohol." Tr. p. 14. Officer McAtee also noticed that Brown had a staggered walk and was distracted by the people passing by. As a result, Officer McAtee concluded that Brown was extremely intoxicated. Officer McAtee asked Brown for identification, but Brown refused to provide any. Based on his observations of Brown and the fact that Brown was intoxicated in an area that was crowded with people and subject to the occurrence of multiple fights late at night, Officer McAtee believed that Brown was endangering himself and others. Officer McAtee arrested Brown for public intoxication.

The State charged Brown with public intoxication as a class B misdemeanor. On November 14, 2013, a bench trial was held. The trial court denied Brown's motion for involuntary dismissal and found him guilty of public intoxication, concluding that he was intoxicated in public and in imminent ...


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