Firearms Enhancement Affirmed in Intimidation Conviction

Posted 6 months ago — Ooley Law Blog
A man was convicted of felony intimidation in Elkhart County after threatening his wife. Intimidation is normally a misdemeanor, but in this case, the charge was enhanced from a Class A misdemeanor based on the allegation that he “drew a deadly weapon” while committing the offense.

 

The defendant appealed the conviction and the enhancement and argued that the evidence did not show that he drew the firearm or that he drew the firearm while committing the crime of intimidation. Defendant argued that he did not “draw” the firearm because he did not (1) remove it from an enclosure or (2) point it at anybody.

 

Nonetheless, the Court of Appeals cited a federal court case and said that “the salient character of ‘drawing’ a weapon is the common-sense understanding of bringing it forth and preparing it for use.” United States v. Suggs, 624 F.3d 370, 374 (7th Cir. 2010).

 

The Court reasoned that there is no question that Rhodes brought forth the firearm when he held it in his hand and propped it on his shoulder as he moved toward the house and that it can be reasonably inferred from his possession of the gun and his anger at his estranged wife that he was preparing to use it.

 

Defendant also argued that even if he did draw the firearm, he did not do so “while committing” intimidation. He asserts that his threatening phone call was separated in time and distance from the separate act of possession of the gun at his estranged wife’s location. An enhanced conviction cannot stand if there is a break in the chain of events between the intimidation and the drawing of the weapon.

 

Nonetheless, the Court disagreed and found that there was a continuous chain of events. Defendant said, “I’m going to kill you,” and five to ten minutes later showed up at the house where his estranged wife was staying, got out of his truck, took his firearm out of the truck, and came around the truck. He then walked to the door, kicked it, and yelled, “open the f**king door.”

 

The Court held that this was one continuous chain of events and further held that the evidence was sufficient to prove that Rhodes drew a deadly weapon while committing intimidation.

 

You can read the opinion at the following link or at the PDF embedded below:
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