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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides and posts a third opinion today

Note: The ILB experienced difficulty viewing the first page of the Gault decision - as noted earlier today the ILB also had trouble with the Brinkman decision. If you are having similar troubles, I suggest you write the Clerk's Office. The ILB has written previously, but received no response.

In Thabit Gault v. State, a 13-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Sullivan writes:

During cross-examination at Thabit Gault’s trial on drug charges, the arresting officer re-freshed his memory on several points by referring to his police report. Indiana Evidence Rule 612 requires that if a document is used to refresh the witness’s memory while testifying, the party whose interests could be harmed by the testimony must have access to the document. Although the trial court erroneously denied Gault’s counsel access to the report, the error was sufficiently minor that it did not adversely affect Gault’s rights. * * *

Conclusion: The defendant was an “adverse party” for purposes of Evid. R. 612(a), and his counsel should have been permitted to review, at the least, the relevant portions of the report used to re-fresh the officer’s recollection on the stand. Such error, however, was harmless and the judg-ment of the trial court is affirmed. The opinion of the Court of Appeals is vacated except for that portion disposing of Gault’s insufficient evidence claim, which is summarily affirmed. Ind. Ap-pellate Rule 58(A).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 15, 2008 03:10 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions