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Police, Criminal, Trespass, Reversed

Criminal Trespass Conviction Reversed Due to Lack of Police Authority

A Kokomo man’s conviction for criminal trespass was reversed after the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a police officer did not have the authority to ban him from a public park on a permanent basis. The man had been gambling at the park when police ordered him to leave and placed him on a no trespass list. Two days later, the man was seen sitting on a bench at the same park and was arrested for criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor.

At trial, the arresting police officer claimed he had authority to ban the defendant from the public park, without citing a specific authority. At a bench trial, the defendant was found guilty and then filed an appeal.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction citing that Indiana law does not authorize police officers to place persons on a trespass list or ban persons from a public park. Police are empowered to enforce municipal ordinances. The Kokomo municipal ordinance provided gambling was prohibited in the park. The law authorized police to remove persons who were gambling or breaking other park rules. However, it did not authorize police to ban a person from a park indefinitely.

park bench in a green space

Defense of Criminal Trespass Charges

To convict someone of criminal trespass in Indiana, a person must have been properly denied entry to a place by a person with the authority to do so. If a person is charged with criminal trespass, it is important to contact an experienced criminal attorney. If a person is allegedly banned from a public place, the State must first prove that the ban itself is legal.

Gibson Law Office has extensive experience defending criminal trespass cases. With offices in Lafayette, Bloomington, Anderson, and Fort Wayne, our attorneys defend cases throughout Indiana.