Robert Lamb II (right) has been found not guilty of Hunting without Consent of the Landowner. The other man is his father.
Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers has ruled that Robert Lamb II is not guilty of a Hunting Without Consent of the Landowner. The charge stemmed from a dispute over Lamb shooting one of two deer locked together on a piece of property in the area of C.R. 950 N on Oct. 13, 2004.
A major point in the case was whether the charge filed by the Clay County Prosecutor's Office was valid because of the legal definition of the word landowner. Lamb was charged after a complaint by tenant Eric V. Stearley who leased the exclusive hunting rights to the property.
The landowner of the property, Tommy Lynch, not Stearley, did not file the charge or appear in court to testify against Lamb.
According to the order signed by Akers late Wednesday afternoon, the Court is bound to follow the law which states that there is a difference between innocence and not guilty. A defendant can only be found guilty after the State has proven the allegations of the charged offense.
For reasons unknown by the court, the State of Indiana did not choose to charge Lamb with Hunting Without Consent of the Tenant (Stearley), there was no evidence from the landowner that he did or did not consent to Lamb's hunting on the property and that, although authorized in a written agreement by Lynch for Stearley to take actions against individuals to trespass, Lamb was not charged with trespass.
Akers stated in the court order that although Lamb was not innocent by any means, he was not guilty as charged.
The State of Indiana has 30 days to file an appeal in the matter. Although it is questionable that Lamb could be retried on the charge, it would clarify the definition for future legal matters according to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chip Allen.
"It's our duty to enforce criminal charges when a crime has been committed," he told The Brazil Times in a telephone interview this morning. "I will be evaluating options for appealing this decision."