ILNews

Appeals court affirms battery conviction of man who murdered his wife

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2007
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A man appealed his Class A misdemeanor battery conviction claiming that his wife, who reported to police that her husband hit her and was murdered before the scheduled trial date, was no longer around for him to confront as his accuser and was the only witness to the battery.

In Albert Boyd v. State of Indiana, No. 03A01-0701-CR-1, the three-judge panel affirmed the trial court's conviction.

The battery charges stemmed from a physical altercation that the defendant-appellant's wife, Ruth Boyd, reported against her husband Albert Boyd on April 23, 2005. Albert's trial was scheduled for March 31, 2006, but on Jan. 31, 2006, Ruth was murdered and the trial was postponed. Albert was convicted of his wife's murder on Aug. 9, 2006, in Bartholomew Superior Court.

A bench trial was held on the battery charge on Dec. 12, 2006. Prior to trial, a hearing was conducted regarding the admissibility of Ruth's April 23, 2005, statement. The trial court concluded that in murdering Ruth, Albert forfeited his right to confront her as a witness against him and waived his right to object to the admission of her statement on hearsay grounds.

In the opinion released today written by Court of Appeals Judge Michael Barnes, the appeals court affirms the trial court's decision citing an Indiana Supreme Court case, Wright v. State, which found that "a party may not take advantage of an error that she commits, invites, or which is the natural consequence of her own neglect or misconduct"

Judge Barnes wrote, "[Albert] may not take advantage of Ruth's inability to testify, which was the natural consequence of his own misconduct-murdering her."

"We see no reason why a defendant, who by his or her own wrongdoing renders a witness unable to testify, would not forfeit the Sixth Amendment right to confront that witness at trial," Judge Barnes wrote. "To hold otherwise would permit a defendant to benefit from his or her wrongful act, which in this case was murdering the witness."
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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