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Anthony v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 31, 2018

John W. Anthony, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Marcel A. Pratt, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G13-1707-IF-35689

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Ruth Ann Johnson Victoria L. Bailey Marion County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Tyler G. Banks Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         [¶1] John W. Anthony appeals the trial court's determination he violated Indiana Code section 9-19-19-3, which prohibits driving "with a sign, poster, sunscreening material, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows of the vehicle that obstructs the driver's clear view of the highway or an intersecting highway." As the State did not present any evidence to prove Anthony violated that statute, we reverse.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On July 25, 2017, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Greer observed a car being driven by Anthony. The car "had plastic bags of trash, canned foods, clothes, piled from the bottom of [its] floor to the ceiling . . . on the dashboard and along the side windows and rear windows." (Tr. Vol. II at 6.) After looking around the car and being able to see in only the driver's window, Officer Greer issued a citation to Anthony for violation of Indiana Code section 9-19-19-3.

         [¶3] On November 13, 2017, at a bench trial, Anthony represented himself and denied violating the statute. Throughout his testimony Anthony repeatedly noted the statute prohibits "nontransparent material upon the" windows, Ind. Code § 9-19-19-3 (emphasis added), and argued he "didn't have nothing on the windshield. [He] didn't have nothing on the side windows. [He] did have items in the automobile."[1] (Tr. at 13) (errors in original).

         [¶4] The State, during its cross-examination of Anthony, told Anthony he was not understanding the statute correctly. The following exchange occurred:

[State:] A person may not drive a motor vehicle with a sign, poster or non-transparent material, that's debris, on the front windshield, side windows, rear window of the vehicle, obstructs the driver's clear view of the highway or intersection highway. You read this?
[Anthony:] It says nothing on the windshield. I don't have nothing on the windows.
[State:] I don't believe you understand what I'm saying, sir.
[Anthony:] I understand what you're saying. I understand what I'm reading too.
[State:] So you do understand that non-transparent materials is not a decal? That's not a sticker. It's any ...

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