10/20/2017Indiana: Ex-Prosecutor Busted For Using Badge To Avoid Ticket
Ex-prosecutor in Indiana caught abusing the police courtesy of ignoring speeding for fellow law enforcement officers.
Indiana police officers have no problem letting speeders continue on their way without a ticket -- as long as they have a badge. Brian J. Oberst pushed this courtesy to the limit by displaying a badge he was no longer entitled to use, and the Indiana Court of Appeals last week upheld his conviction for impersonating a public servant.
Oberst is an attorney in private practice who left his post as a Vanderburgh County prosecutor and public defender in 2010. On January 14, 2015, Gibson County Sheriff's Officer John Fischer stopped Oberst for driving 11 MPH over the limit. Oberst showed the badge he was issued as a deputy prosecutor and was let off. Less than two weeks later, state police Trooper Ryan Wilson clocked Oberst at 19 MPH over the limit. Again, the badge allowed the former prosecutor to avoid the costly citation and increased insurance premiums he would have otherwise faced.
Unfortunately for Oberst, his luck had run out. Officer Fischer figured out that Oberst was no longer a prosecutor, and word of the deception spread to Trooper Wilson who decided to report the incident. Oberst was charged with felony impersonation of a law enforcement officer. Warrick Circuit Court Judge Honorable Greg A. Granger found Oberst guilty on March 10, 2017, but on reconsideration the former prosecutor had his conviction reduced to misdemeanor impersonation of a public servant, for which he was sentenced to a year of probation without the need to ever report to a probation officer.
Oberst appealed, insisting there was not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to mislead the trooper, and that a deputy prosecutor has no authority over a state trooper' traffic tickets. A three-judge panel was not impressed by the argument.
"Here, it is clear from the record that Oberst showed his badge to Trooper Wilson in hopes of getting out of a speeding ticket," Judge Paul D. Mathias wrote for the panel. "In fact, he had done the same thing just thirteen days prior. After Trooper Wilson pulled away, Oberst called his friend to tell him that he 'got out of the ticket' because 'I showed him my badge.' ...This is sufficient for a reasonable fact-finder to infer that Oberst intended for Trooper Wilson to submit to his false authority."
Even though he might not have had any real authority, the court concluded his was looking to receive special treatment from the trooper, and that was enough to sustain his misdemeanor conviction.
A copy of the ruling is available in a 120k PDF file at the source link below.