Friday, May 1, 2020

Is It Really A Crime To Defy Indiana's Stay-At-Home Order?

Governor Holcomb (of Indiana) is expected this afternoon to release a modified version of the "Stay-At-Home" order for Indiana.  I hope that the new version (apart from any other objections which might be made to it, or to "Stay-At-Home" orders in general, or to the idea of governors of states issuing them without the consent either of "the governed" ourselves or of our elected representatives in our state legislatures) omits a defect that previous versions have contained.

Previous versions have claimed that IC 10-14-3-34 makes it a Class B misdemeanor to knowingly violate an order issued by the Governor under IC 10-14-3.  That claim would not hold up under any real scrutiny.  That is not the Governor's fault, of course, as he is not the author of IC 10-14-3-34.

IC 10-14-3-34 must be among the most lazily written statutory provisions ever enacted for the purpose of defining a criminal offense, though it is outdone by an older version that did not even include a mens rea requirement (which the General Assembly at some point realized ought to be included in it).

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