« Courts - Still more on: Chief Justice Roberts at Indy Law Tuesday | Main | Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues opinion on internet jurisdiction »

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Two opinions issued today by Supreme Court

In Jeffrey Treadway v. State of Indiana, a 27-page, 5-0 opinion, Justuce Rucker writes:

After a trial by jury Jeffrey Treadway was found guilty of murder, felony murder, robbery, and battery. Alleging two statutory aggravating circumstances, the State sought life imprisonment without parole. The jury recommended life imprisonment and the trial court sentenced Treadway accordingly. Rephrased and reordered Treadway raises the following issues: (1) did the trial court err in failing to dismiss the State‟s request for life imprisonment without parole; (2) did the trial court abuse its discretion in failing to grant a mistrial; (3) did the trial court abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence the testimony of two inmate witnesses; (4) did the trial court err in admitting into evidence Treadway‟s pretrial statement; (5) did the trial court err in instructing the jury; (5) was the evidence sufficient to sustain the verdicts; (6) did the State prove the existence of the statutory aggravators beyond a reasonable doubt; (7) is the trial court‟s sentencing order inadequate; and (8) is the life without parole sentence inappropriate based on Treadway‟s character and the nature of the offense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
In Shewanda Beattie v. State of Indiana, a 9-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:
When a jury returns logically inconsistent verdicts in the same case, must Indiana courts accept the inconsistency as insulated from judicial review, or are such verdicts subject to review and, if so, on what basis? To address variations in Indiana case law on this issue, we granted transfer. Adhering to the historically prevailing rule of Indiana jurisprudence and of the United States Supreme Court, holding that inconsistent verdicts are permissible and not subject to appel-late review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

During the defendant's jury trial on charges of Dealing in Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine Within 1,000 Feet of a Family Housing Complex, and Possession of Marijuana, the jury was also instructed on and provided a verdict form for Possession of Cocaine as a lesser-included offense of Dealing in Cocaine. The jury returned verdicts finding the defendant not guilty of both Deal-ing in Cocaine and Possession of Cocaine, but guilty of Possession of Cocaine Within 1,000 Feet of a Family Housing Complex and Possession of Marijuana. The defendant appealed, presenting two claims: (1) irreconcilable verdicts and (2) erroneous admission of evidence resulting from an unconstitutional search and seizure. Rejecting the defendant's assertion of an improper search and a resulting error in admission of evidence, the Court of Appeals nevertheless reversed be-cause "the inconsistency in the jury's verdicts leaves us unable to determine what evidence the jury believed." Beattie v. State, 903 N.E.2d 1050, 1057 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009). We granted trans-fer to address the appellate review of claims of inconsistent verdicts. * * *

Concluding that inconsistent jury verdicts are not subject to appellate review, and sum-marily affirming the Court of Appeals as to the other issue presented by the defendant, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 8, 2010 12:32 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions