Domestic Case Law

Joslyn v. State Indiana Supreme Court (2011)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Stephanie Livingston moved in with Richard Joslyn, her third cousin, following a breakup with her youngest son’s father. She lived with him for six months and struggled with alcohol. She learned later that Joslyn recorded a video of them engaging in sexual intercourse but has no memory of the act. Later she moved in with her mother and applied ex parte for a protective order under the Indiana Civil Protective Order Act. The court issued the order which “prohibited Joslyn from having any contact with Livingston.” A deputy served Joslyn with a copy of the order by attaching it to the door of his residence. The deputy “did not indicate on the return of service form that a copy of the order was also mailed to Joslyn’s last known address as required by Indiana Trial Rule 4.1.” Later, Livingston noted several instances in which Joslyn watched her, left notes at her mother’s front door, asked her friends about her whereabouts, crashed her friend’s vehicle, and hid in a crawl space under her home. In December, the State charged Joslyn with “class C felony stalking, four counts of class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy and a class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The case went to trial by jury. The jury found Joslyn guilty of all counts, except the resisting law enforcement count. Joslyn appealed, and challenged “the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions, arguing the State did not prove he was properly served with the protective order.” The Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions. It found that Joslyn’s admission that he received notice left at his home was “sufficient to permit his conviction for invasion of privacy and stalking.” The court noted that the statutes defining stalking and invasion of privacy require notice of an order, but the fact that the process server may not have sent a copy to his house by first class mail as required under Indiana Trial Rules is insufficient to overturn his convictions. The court noted that the purpose of the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act is to “promote the protection and safety of all victims of domestic violence and prevent future incidents.” It found that overturning a conviction due to an error in civil process, even when the court had issued the order and defendant had actual notice of the order, would be contrary to that purpose.

In the Matter of Dwayne M. Brown Indiana Supreme Court (1998)

Sexual harassment

The court upheld an elected clerk’s three-year suspension from the practice of law for various acts, including sexual advances toward female employees in the clerk’s office. Six female employees made allegations that he sexually harassed them. Respondent attempted to argue that his actions toward the employees did not meet the standard for “13” as defined by the EEOC. The Court found that it did not need to rely on a federal agency’s definition to “find that the respondent’s creation and perpetuation of a work environment infected with inappropriate and unwelcome sexual advances violated Prof. Cond. R. 8.4(d).” It found that his acts were “prejudicial to the administration of justice,” whether or not they met a legal definition of 13. Furthermore, he did not testify at the hearing or otherwise rebut the evidence, but merely contended that the allegations by former employees were untrue. It therefore suspended him from the practice of law for three years.