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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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