Thursday, April 30, 2009


     The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that Indiana's laws against drunk driving apply even when a motorist is driving on his or her own private property.  You do not have to be driving on a public roadway in order to be convicted of operating while intoxicated. 

     In June of 2006, the defendant was operating an all-terrain vehicle on his own property in a rural area of Marshall County.  He was driving it well away from the public roadway, in a wooded area about three hundred yards from his cabin.  He had an accident, sustaining fractures and head trauma, and was taken to the hospital.  Police suspected that he had been drinking and, after having blood drawn, charged him with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  The defendant moved the trial court to suppress evidence on the grounds that he could not be charged with OWI for operating an all-terrain vehicle on his own private property.  The Marshall Superior Court granted the motion to suppress, and the State appealed.    

     On appeal, the defendant's attorney argued that the OWI statute's use of the terms "operator" and "vehicle" are both defined by reference to use upon a public highway.  Defense counsel further argued that in driving his ATV in a wooded area of his own property, the defendant was not in any way endangering the public, and that the OWI laws should not be extended to encompass a motorist's use of a vehicle on the driver's own private property.  

     The Indiana Supreme Court rejected the defendant's arguments.  Writing for the unanimous Court, Justice Brent Dickson noted that the State has a strong interest in protecting the health and safety of its citizens, referring not only to third persons but also the danger that a defendant presents to himself.  The Court concluded:  "Regardless of where the defendant's driving occurred, whether on public or private property, and even if on the defendant's own property, the State is authorized to charge him with intoxicated driving offenses."  The Court issued its opinion for publication on April 8, 2009, and it is now the law of the land. 

     So the next time you're having a cookout at your house and need to move some cars around in your driveway, you'd better be careful.  And if you've been sloshing down a few cold ones, let somebody who hasn't been drinking do it. 



Friday, April 17, 2009


     Looking for some worthwhile entertainment?  Tonight is the premiere performance of the musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum at Providence High School in Clarksville.  I am eagerly looking forward to seeing the show both because of the quality of the performances that are typically produced there, and also because my son Collin is playing the role of Pseudolus.  The role is a very large and challenging one--the very sort of role that Collin relishes.  

     As is always the case with the musicals at Providence, this one will be a major production with community-wide support.  Tickets for tonight's gala dinner performance are $100.00 each, and many local luminaries will be on hand to support the school and its theater department.  Tickets for the subsequent performances are a much more modest $14.00 each, and can be obtained by calling the Performing Arts Ticket Office at 945-2538, ext. 328.  There are performances on April 17, 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26.  

     This will be Collin's last show at Providence.  He graduates next month, and in the fall he will begin his studies as a theater major at the University of Evansville.  

     It appears that my youngest child has grown up on me.  That sort of strikes me as a funny thing, but even more so as an unbelievable one.  Break a leg, Son.   

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Several years ago, I read what I consider to be one of the most magnificent novels ever written: The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. This is no ordinary novel. Rather, it is an exquisite work of historical fiction, deeply developed, that captivated me from start to finish. It literally made me laugh out loud at times, while putting me on the verge of tears at others. (Yes, even manly men like me have tear ducts, and we have to empty them out once every few years or so. But I digress.) Although the epic novel is over a thousand pages in length, I never tired of it. In fact, I found myself sorry that I could no longer continue reading once I finished it. I wanted it to go on and on!

Fortunately, Ken Follett has produced a sequel. World Without End picks up where Pillars left off--except two centuries later. I am now halfway through the sequel, and I am enjoying it every bit as much I did the original novel. I find myself stewing over what will happen with the bishops, knights, squires, serfs, outlaws, maidens and various other characters who are so vividly brought to life within the pages. The sequel is also over a thousand pages in length, and I am relishing every enthralling page. I again find myself not wanting it to end.

I have blogged before about my fondness for Ken Follett's writing, and I will say it again: He is a true literary master. If you have not read them, I can very happily recommend that you check out both The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.

Just be ready to both laugh and cry.

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