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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 11 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In Jerrme Cartwright v. State of Indiana , a 16-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Kirsch writes:

Jerrme Cartwright (“Cartwright”) was convicted after a jury trial of two counts of attempted battery with a deadly weapon, each as a Class C felony, two counts of attempted aggravated battery, each as a Class B felony, and one count of possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon,3 a Class B felony, and was given an aggregate sentence of twenty-six years executed. He appeals, raising the following restated issues for our review: I. Whether the trial court erred in denying Cartwright's objection to the State's use of a peremptory challenge to strike the only African-American from the jury venire; and II. Whether sufficient evidence was presented to support Cartwright's convictions for attempted battery with a deadly weapon. We reverse and remand for a new trial. * * *

[I] Here, the trial court made no express finding as to which of the State's explanations it relied upon in denying Cartwright's challenge; it merely approved the peremptory strike without explanation. Tr. at 141, 151. As a result, we cannot determine which of the State's proffered explanations the trial court relied upon when it denied Cartwright's Batson challenge. The State failed to inquire into such reasons or to develop anything beyond the most superficial of records regarding its reasons. We conclude that the State's proffered explanations for striking the only African-American juror from the jury panel were pretextual and the result of purposeful discrimination. We, therefore, reverse Cartwright's convictions and remand for a new trial.

[II] * * * Therefore, the testimony of Tiffany alone was sufficient to allow the jury to reasonably infer that Cartwright intended to harm Shaudarekkia. Sufficient evidence was presented to support his conviction for attempted battery with a deadly weapon with Shaudarekkia as the victim. We therefore conclude that, because there was sufficient evidence to convict Cartwright, he may be retried.

Reversed and remanded.

MATHIAS, J., concurs.
VAIDIK, J., dissents with separate opinion. I disagree with the majority's resolution of Cartwright's Batson claim. I believe the trial court was warranted in finding no purposeful discrimination in the State's exercise of its peremptory strike. I would therefore affirm the trial court's ruling as well as its judgment of conviction. * * *

In short, I cannot conclude on this cold record that the State's reasons for striking the panelist were baseless, pretextual, and the result of purposeful discrimination. I believe the trial court's ruling deserves much greater deference, and I would therefore find no Batson violation on appeal. For these reasons I respectfully dissent and would affirm the judgment of the trial court.

NFP civil opinions today (2):

Commitment of A.R. (NFP)

Pete Burgmeier v. Robert Akin (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (9):

Perry O. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Carl Andre Coleman v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Latoyia Tuggles v. State of Indiana (NFP)

D.H. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Zachard D.A. Edwards v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Arden Balmer, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

David B. Tyra v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Todd A. Harmon v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael O. Branch v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 22, 2011 12:45 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions