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[APPEALS] Justin Ryan Yeary v. State of Indiana, 21A-CR-1080

By Courts

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 10am to 10:40am

University of Southern Indiana, Carter Hall D View map

8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, IN 47712

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the Courtroom will be limited to the Judges, limited Court personnel, and no more than two attorneys per arguing party.  (Litigants and other interested parties are invited to view the argument by live webcast outside the Courtroom or remotely).

Justin Yeary appeals his conviction of and sentence for Level 1 felony dealing in a narcotic causing death (Indiana Code § 35-42-1-1.5), also known as the "Drug-Induced Homicide" statute.  He argues the statute is unconstitutionally vague based on the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution because it denies him due process by excluding from possible defenses to the crime Humphrey’s voluntary ingestion of the controlled substance.  Yeary also contends the commission of the crime is “based nearly exclusively on the future actions of others, which fails to put a person on reasonable notice that the statute will apply to his conduct and allows for arbitrary enforcement of the statute.”  Yeary additionally challenges the trial court’s decisions to (1) refuse to admit evidence of possibly exculpatory text messages and (2) deny his request for jury instructions regarding the issue of causation.  Even considering these alleged errors, Yeary asserts the State did not present sufficient evidence he committed Drug-Induced Homicide because the State did not produce evidence that Yeary was the sole source of the fentanyl found in Humphrey’s blood at the time of his death.  Finally, Yeary argues his thirty-five year sentence is inappropriate based on the nature of the crime and his character. 

The scheduled panel members are Judge May, Judge Brown, and Judge Weissmann.

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