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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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.