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Lynn v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 23, 2016

Jay Lynn, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court, No. 49F08-1312-CM-79123, Honorable David Hooper, Magistrate

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Deborah Markisohn Marion County Public Defender Appellate Division Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Michael Gene Worden Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Crone, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [1] Jay Lynn appeals his convictions, following a jury trial, for battery and disorderly conduct, both as class B misdemeanors. He contends that the trial court committed fundamental error regarding a preliminary jury instruction and that the State did not present sufficient evidence to support his disorderly conduct conviction. Finding no fundamental error and concluding that the State presented sufficient evidence, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [2] Andrew Johnson works as a privately contracted security guard at the Indianapolis North East social security office. Johnson's job can be described as "crowd control." Tr. at 87. His duties include sitting at a desk in the main lobby, directing people to take numbers, answering any minor questions that people may have, and if "someone gets loud … that's [his] job to escort them out of the building." Id. On December 12, 2013, sixty-one-year-old Lynn went to the social security office because "he had locked himself out of his online account." Id. at 92. When Lynn arrived, he told Johnson that "he spoke with somebody at the 1-800 number and was told that all he had to do was come in and show his I.D." Id. Johnson told Lynn that he would have to take a number and wait because other people were already waiting in line. Lynn became agitated and "very aggressive in his demeanor." Id. He "made it clear that he did not want to wait, he did not want to take a number." Id. at 93. When Johnson advised him that "he had to, " Lynn asked to speak to a supervisor. Id.

         [3] Lynn spoke to the assistant district manager, Robert Gramse. Gramse observed that Lynn was upset and angry that he had to take a number and wait. After Gramse explained that this was just office procedure, Lynn took a number and sat down to wait. Sometime thereafter, one of the clerks called Lynn's number three times, but Lynn did not respond because he was talking to someone. In accordance with protocol, the clerk moved on to the next number and helped the next individual instead. When Lynn realized that he had missed his number being called, he tried to proceed to the clerk's window. Johnson informed Lynn, "Your number was called, so actually you'll have to take another number." Id. at 95. Lynn became angry and loud and started yelling at Johnson. Johnson asked Lynn to "lower his voice, " and Lynn refused, telling Johnson over and over again, "You don't tell me what to do. I tell you what to do." Id. at 97. Johnson told Lynn that if he did not lower his voice that he would have to leave the building. Lynn responded that he was "not going anywhere." Id. Because Johnson felt that Lynn was "disrupting operations in a federal facility, " he told Lynn that it was time for him to leave, pointed toward the door, and began to escort Lynn out of the building. Id. at 99.

         [4] When Johnson gently placed his hand under Lynn's elbow to direct him toward the door, Lynn "struck [Johnson's] forearm with his - with his closed hand knocking [Johnson's] hand away." Id. at 100. The closed-fist punch impacted Johnson's mid-forearm and gave him "a pretty good shock." Id. Lynn then raised the cane that he was holding in the other hand and tried to strike Johnson in the face. Johnson was able to use his arms to block the cane from hitting him by bringing his hands up and grabbing Lynn's shirt lapels. The scuffle caused Johnson and Lynn to both fall to the ground, with Johnson ending up on top of Lynn. Johnson told Lynn that he was being detained and needed to put his hands behind his back so that he could be handcuffed. Lynn refused and instead placed his hands underneath his body. Johnson asked Lynn approximately thirty or forty times to place his hands behind his back, but Johnson refused. Lawrence police officers arrived, used "a dry stun" tasering technique to obtain Lynn's compliance with handcuffing, and arrested Lynn. Id. at 106.[1]

         [5] The State charged Lynn with class A misdemeanor battery and class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Following a trial, the jury found Lynn guilty of battery and disorderly conduct, both as class B misdemeanors. This appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         Section 1 - The trial court did not commit fundamental error in instructing the jury.

         [6] We address first Lynn's assertion that the trial court committed fundamental error in instructing the jury. Specifically, Lynn challenges Preliminary Instruction 4. Because he admittedly failed to make a contemporaneous objection to the instruction, he argues that it amounted to fundamental error. Our supreme court recently explained,

Because instructing the jury is a matter within the sound discretion of the trial court, we will reverse a trial court's decision to tender or reject a jury instruction only if there is an abuse of that discretion. We determine whether the instruction states the law correctly, whether it is supported by record evidence, and whether its substance is covered by other instructions. Jury instructions are to be considered as a whole and in reference to each other; error in a ...

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