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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one opinion today

In Tyrus D. Coleman v. State of Indiana, a 13-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

In this opinion we discuss among other things whether the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution precludes the State from retrying a defendant where in the first trial the jury acquitted the defendant of murder with respect to one victim but failed to return a verdict on a charge of attempted murder with respect to another victim. We conclude it does not. * * *

The State charged Coleman with murder, a felony, for the death of Jermaine and attempted murder, a Class A felony, for shooting Dye. During a jury trial conducted in February 2008 Coleman testified and admitted the shootings, but contended that his actions against both Jermaine and Dye were justified on the basis of self-defense. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the murder charge, but was unable to reach a verdict on the attempted murder charge. The trial court thus declared a mistrial on that count and scheduled another trial. Prior to retrial Coleman filed a motion to dismiss contending a subsequent trial on attempted murder was barred by collateral estoppel and would therefore violate the Double Jeopardy Clauses of both the United States and Indiana Constitutions. After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. A retrial ensued, at the conclusion of which the jury found Coleman guilty as charged. Thereafter the trial court sentenced him to a term of forty-five years. Coleman appealed raising several issues for review. In a divided opinion the Court of Appeals reversed Coleman's conviction on grounds of collateral estoppel. Coleman v. State, 924 N.E.2d 659 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). Having previously granted transfer thereby vacating the opinion of the Court of Appeals, see Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A), we now affirm Coleman's conviction.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 18, 2011 11:57 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions