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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 opinion(s) today (and 2 NFP memorandum decisions)

For publication opinions today (3):

In Leandrew Beasley v. State of Indiana, a 32-page opinion, Judge Brown writes:

Leandrew Beasley appeals his convictions for murder, attempted murder, a class A felony, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a class B felony. Beasley raises four issues, which we consolidate and restate as:
I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted certain statements as statements against interest and admitted testimony of a police officer regarding a victim’s statement made to him minutes after the incident;
II. Whether the trial court committed fundamental error by not declaring a mistrial after an officer gave testimony not supported by her investigation and the court admonished the jury to disregard the testimony; and
III. Whether the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial regarding jury taint. * * *

[I] The court did not err in admitting the testimony of Officer Gallico regarding Beamon’s identification at the scene of Beasley and James as two of the shooters. * * *

[II] The next issue is whether the court committed fundamental error by not declaring a mistrial after Detective VanBuskirk gave testimony not supported by her investigation and the court admonished the jury to disregard the testimony. * * *

We conclude that the court’s admonishment to the jury that the testimony of Detective VanBuskirk regarding any relation between Melvin Beasley and Beasley was stricken from the record and was not to be considered, and to not declare a mistrial, did not result in fundamental error.

[III] The next issue is whether the court erred in denying Beasley’s motion for mistrial after Juror No. 9 told the other jurors that she recognized a person in the gallery and was concerned for her safety and well-being. * * *

Based on the foregoing, we cannot say that the court abused its discretion when it denied Beasley’s motion for mistrial. See Henri, 908 N.E.2d at 202-204 (holding that the defendant failed to show misconduct which was gross and probably harmed the defendant based upon claims that one juror’s receipt of a cell phone call created pressure to reach a hasty verdict, and that the alternate juror communicated with the regular jurors during deliberations); see also Weisheit v. State, 26 N.E.3d 3, 13-14 (Ind. 2015) (holding that the trial court did not err in denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial after it was discovered that one of the jurors delivered cookies to the jury room baked by his wife which contained an attached note stating “Thank you for your service for the family of Alyssa [and] Caleb Lynch. I will pray for you all to have strength and wisdom to deal with the days ahead. God bless!” the court interviewed each juror individually and determined that the note had no impact on the jurors, and it removed the juror who brought the cookies and replaced the juror with an alternate).[Affirmed]

In James Beasley v. State of Indiana, a 28-page opinion, Judge Brown writes:
James Beasley appeals his convictions for murder and attempted murder, a class A felony. Beasley raises two issues, which we revise and restate as:
I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain statements; and
II. Whether the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial. * * *

For the foregoing reasons, we affirm Beasley’s convictions for murder and attempted murder, a class A felony.

In Andre C.T. Wells v. State of Indiana, a 13-page opinion, Judge May writes:
Andre C.T. Wells appeals his conviction of murder. He raises three issues for our review:
1. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted recordings of Wells’ statements to Brian Thompson;
2. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence regarding Wells’ alleged plot to kill Brian Thompson; and
3. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted testimony concerning cell phone towers and the potential locations of cell phones relevant to the crime. * * *

Wells argues his recorded conversations with Thompson violated his Fifth Amendment and Section 1, Article 14[2] rights against self-incrimination because Thompson was an agent of the police and, thus, Wells should have been given a Miranda warning before speaking with Thompson. * * *

The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted the wiretap evidence and the evidence of a murder for hire plot. In addition, if the admission of the cell phone location information was error, it was harmless. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
________
[2] Wells mentions the admission of the wiretap recordings violates his rights under Article 1, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution, however, he makes no argument to that effect. Thus he has waived any such argument. See Indiana Appellate Rule 46(A)(8)(a) (appellate argument must be a cogent argument supported by citations to authority [and] statutes); and see West v. State, 755 N.E.2d 173, 181 (Ind. 2001) (failure to make a cogent argument waives issue from appellate court’s consideration).

NFP civil decisions today (0):

NFP criminal decisions today (2):

Keith R. Miller v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Dwight Patton v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 29, 2015 11:45 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions