Chesterton Tribune

Porter man not guilty of wrongdoing in 2010 case

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A jury found a Porter resident not guilty on Wednesday of all misdemeanor charges filed against him in 2010 in connection with a disturbance at St. Patrick Catholic Church following a Vegas Night fundraiser.

Meanwhile, two felony charges filed against Carl Dahlin, also in connection with the incident, were dismissed before the trial even began, Dahlin’s attorney, Larry Rogers, told the Chesterton Tribune after deadline on Thursday.

On Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010, Dahlin was taken into custody at the church by Chesterton Police on misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. Then, while being booked into the Porter County Jail, two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance were also filed against him, when three loose tablets of a Schedule III medication and two of a Schedule IV were found on his person.

In fact, Rogers said, Dahlin had a legal prescription for both medications, “never should have been charged in the first place,” and would not have been had the CPD made the effort to verify the prescriptions. “The officer refused to verify the prescriptions through Walgreen’s although he did call Poison Control to identify the pills. And he didn’t call Walgreen’s the next day or the next day or the next day.”

Both felony counts against Dahlin were accordingly dismissed on the morning of the trial, Rogers said.

The jury, meanwhile, deliberated five hours before acquitting Dahlin on all misdemeanor counts, stemming from an incident in a church classroom after the fundraiser had ended for the evening.

Rogers gave this account of events.

Dahlin had volunteered to work as a dealer at a blackjack table at the church fundraiser. Sitting at Dahlin’s table was “an extremely intoxicated woman” who, at some point in the evening, began acting suggestively and inappropriately with Dahlin, Rogers said. Also sitting at the table, though not next to her—“unbeknownst to” Dahlin—was the woman’s husband. At the end of the night, Dahlin cashed out and went to retrieve his coat from the classroom where he had left it. There the woman approached him, “straddled him, started kissing him,” Rogers said, although Dahlin made it clear that he was not interested in her attentions. “Then the husband came in and started beating the crap out of (Dahlin).”

An off-duty CPD officer, working security for the church fundraiser, responded to the fracas and asked Dahlin whether he wanted to file charges, Dahlin said no, and the officer released him from the scene, Rogers said. It was when Dahlin was walking to leave the church that two on-duty CPD officers, responding to the report of a disturbance, “not knowing anything, immediately handcuffed him,” Rogers said.

The charges of resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct? “All he was doing was protesting what he thought was an unlawful arrest,” Rogers said. “The officers are cuffing him and he’s trying to tell them ‘You got the wrong guy, I’m the victim.’ And the jury believed us.”

The public intoxication charge? “He was not intoxicated and the officers refused to give him a portable breath test or field sobriety testing. At one point at the police station he was within five feet of a Datamaster (chemical test unit) and they didn’t test him. That’s on video.”

“Our position basically was that (Dahlin) got railroaded and wasn’t treated fairly,” Rogers said.

“The problem here is that once the charges are filed and they’re reported in the newspaper, you can’t unring the bell,” Rogers added.



Posted 7/15/2011