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Appellate court vacates murder, dealing convictions

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The Indiana Court of Appeals vacated convictions of felony murder and dealing in a controlled substance because the state didn’t prove the man was involved in the dealing of ecstasy.

Steven Hyche claimed that he was just trying to purchase ecstasy, not deal in it when the one of the men he met with to buy the drugs was gunned down during the deal. The surviving witness said Hyche was one of the two men standing by his car when he pulled up but that he never saw Hyche with a gun.

Hyche argued since he was just trying to buy ecstasy, he doesn’t fall within the legislature’s definition of a person who committed dealing and so he couldn’t have been guilty of felony murder. The Court of Appeals agreed and vacated his convictions.

The state argued that Hyche could be convicted of dealing in a schedule I controlled substance because he was involved in the delivery and financed the delivery of the drug during the deal. The judges rejected the state’s positions, finding he acted as the transferee, not the transferor.

“The fact that he called another person to request drugs no more makes him a dealer in ecstasy than it would make a customer who calls the florist a dealer in flowers,” wrote Judge Terry Crone in Steven D. Hyche v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0911-CR-1154

In addition, there’s no evidence Hyche furnished any money to further the drug dealers’ dealing activities. He acted merely as a purchaser, and not as a creditor or investor.

“As such, he could no more be deemed to be financing the delivery of ecstasy than a grocery shopper could be deemed to be financing the supermarket’s inventory,” wrote the judge.

The judges also rejected the state’s argument that there’s enough evidence to support Hyche’s guilt as a dealer’s accomplice in dealing ecstasy. Hyche just wanted to buy drugs from the dealers and even though they were all at the crime scene, they were not companions but more like adversaries, noted the judge.

“To find that his offer to purchase the drug somehow amounts to organizing, financing, or even inducing its delivery, defies logic and cannot reasonably reflect the intent of the General Assembly in enacting these statutes,” he wrote.
 

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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