« Ind. Gov't. - More on: Another amazing IURC / Duke Energy story today; and some ILB observations | Main | Courts - SCOTUS questions broad use of FOIA exemption »

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 4 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In William R.D. Britt v. State of Indiana , a 7-page opinion, Judge Mathias writes:

William R. D. Britt (“Britt”) was convicted in Allen Superior Court of Class B felony robbery, Class D felony criminal recklessness, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. Britt appeals and argues that the trial court abused its discretion when it prevented Britt from introducing evidence of a defense witness’s prior robbery conviction. We affirm. * * *

Britt argues that this rule is mandatory and that the trial court therefore had no discretion to exclude evidence of Brandon’s prior robbery conviction. We agree with Britt that the language of Rule 609(a) is mandatory. * * *

Had Britt wished to impeach his brother’s credibility by introducing evidence that Brandon had a prior conviction for robbery, then the evidence of the robbery could have been admissible. But the trial court concluded that Britt was not attempting to impeach his brother’s credibility but rather was attempting to show that, because Brandon had a prior conviction for robbery, he was more likely than Britt to have committed the instant robbery. Evidence Rule 404(b) generally prohibits the admission of evidence of a person’s “other crimes” to prove the person’s character in order to show that the person acted in conformity therewith. And this prohibition applies to persons other than the defendant. * * *

Under the facts and circumstances of the instant case, we cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow Britt’s counsel to introduce evidence of Brandon’s prior robbery conviction.

In Robert Segar v. State of Indiana , a 10-page opinion, Judge Robb writes:
Robert Segar was convicted, following a bench trial, of possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. On appeal, he raises two issues, of which we find the following restated issue dispositive: whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence marijuana obtained following an investigatory stop and detention of Segar. Concluding in the affirmative because Segar's detention was not supported by the requisite reasonable suspicion, we reverse. * * *

Here, Officer Grigsby stopped and handcuffed Segar based on a tip from an anonymous caller whose identity was never ascertained. So far as the record reveals, the information provided by the tipster was limited to the following: 1) a burglary was “in progress” at 3179 Normandy Road; and 2) a white male wearing a dark shirt or dark coat was allegedly involved in the burglary. Because this description was quite generic and lacking in detail, the officers had little information upon which to base a particularized suspicion of Segar. * * *

If the tipster's assertion of a burglary in progress had been corroborated, there would have been some reason to believe the tipster had inside knowledge potentially linking Segar to the illegality. However, there is nothing in the record to indicate whether a burglary actually happened at 3179 Normandy, let alone whether police verified the report before stopping Segar. Not only was the tipster anonymous and unknown to police, the tipster apparently hung up the phone when police or dispatchers attempted to ascertain his or her identity, which casts further doubt on the tipster's knowledge or veracity. * * *

The investigatory stop and detention of Segar were not supported by reasonable suspicion, and the trial court therefore abused its discretion by admitting into evidence over his objection the marijuana officers discovered during the subsequent search. Segar's conviction of possession of marijuana is reversed.

NFP civil opinions today (0):

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

David E. Stutsman v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Elizabeth Littlefield v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Demond Withers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Calhoun v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 1, 2010 01:57 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions