The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that the City of Indianapolis did not waive its ability to enforce the full panoply of its ordinances, even though the language in an agreed judgment it entered into with a private citizen only contained a prohibition against violating one, specific ordinance.

 

In Jewell v. City of Indianapolis, __ N.E.2d __ (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), a unanimous panel found that an agreed judgment between a municipality and a citizen, although civil in nature, should be viewed more like a criminal plea agreement than a private contract. The case addressed a situation where Jewell agreed to admit to violating one ordinance if the city would drop allegations that he violated four others as well. The parties entered into an agreed judgment, where Jewell consented to be “permanently enjoined” from violating § 531-401 of the Revised Code.

 

Subsequently, an officer later found Jewell in violation of § 531-728 of the Revised Code, which places additional restrictions upon citizens who have been found in violation of § 531-401.  Jewell argued that because the agreed judgment only prohibited him violating § 531-401, the city waived its ability to enforce § 531-728 against him. The Court of Appeals found no justification for this reasoning, noting that if Jewell’s argument were taken to its logical conclusion, it would mean that the city waived enforcement of all other ordinances not specifically mentioned in the agreed judgment. As such, the court affirmed the trial court’s finding that Jewell violated § 531-728.

 

The court’s full opinion can be found at: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06141102ehf.pdf