September 17, 2010

Indiana girl loses 14th Amendment argument to show us her breasts

Unclear is, whether these acts will cause one to register as a sex offender, whether a minor or an adult?
9-17-2010 Indiana:

A girl accused of exposing her breasts on an Indianapolis street cannot argue that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution gives her the freedom to do it, the state's appeals court ruled today.

Indianapolis metropolitan police on June 16, 2009, responded to a report of three females exposing themselves to passing vehicles.

One of the three, a 16-year-old Indianapolis girl who is identified only by initials in court documents, could have been charged with a misdemeanor charge of public nudity if she were 18 or older and classified as an adult.

The 14th Amendment's equal protection clause says no state "shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The girl's appointed public defender, Joel M. Schumm, argued Indiana's nudity law was unfair because it covers the nipples of women, but not men. Schumm is a clinical professor of law at Indiana University School of Law -- Indianapolis, and director of its Judicial Externship Program.

Schumm said he was disappointed with the appeals court ruling and its decision not to hear oral arguments in the case. He will discuss with the girl the possibility of moving the case to the Indiana Supreme Court.

The public defender said his written arguments to the appeals court outlined traits shared by both genders' breasts. But, Schumm said, history, stereotypes and public sensitivity appear to be defining Indiana's nudity law.

The girl said the justification of public nudity laws often "appears to be the vague notion of public or moral sensibilities," court documents showed.

An Indiana law gives one definition of nudity as "the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple."

The IMPD officer testified in juvenile court he saw the girl's nipple.

In the appeals court decision, Judge Cale Bradford wrote, "In the end, (the girl) would have us declare by judicial fiat that the public display of fully-uncovered female breasts is no different than the public display of male breasts, when the citizens of Indiana, speaking through their elected representatives, say otherwise.

This we will not do.

"We conclude that Indiana's public nudity statute furthers the goal of protecting the moral sensibilities of that substantial portion of Hoosiers who do not wish to be exposed to erogenous zones in public."

The appeals court decision, affirmed by all three judges, upheld an earlier ruling in a Marion County juvenile court.

The juvenile court discharged the girl to her mother, court documents said.

Laws in some states and localities -- including ones in Hawaii, Maine, New York, Ohio and Texas -- allow public display of women's breasts, according to law sources. ..Source.. Gregg Montgomery

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