COA orders retrial in self-defense case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
The Indiana Court of Appeals determined a Marion County judge wrongly excluded evidence corroborating an Indianapolis man's self-defense claim and has ordered a new trial on a voluntary-manslaughter charge.

In Terrance Hood v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0703-CR-242, the appellate court reversed and remanded to Marion Superior Judge Tanya Walton Pratt's courtroom a case involving an August 2005 shooting outside a liquor store.

As Hood exited the store, a vehicle nearly crashed into him and he got into an argument with the driver. That intoxicated driver approached Hood, who reached into his minivan, pulled out a gun, and shot him six times before driving from the scene. The man later died, and Hood was eventually convicted of voluntary manslaughter and carrying a handgun without a license after a previous conviction. He received a 46-year sentence.

A key of the appeal was Hood's contention regarding excluded testimony about the driver possibly reaching for a gun at his waistline, and being drunk and "a little aggressive." The appellate court relied on a previous ruling in Brand v. State, 766 N.E.2d 772 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) that the concept of evidentiary relevance is broad in a self-defense case, and here the trial court should have allowed it.

The testimony "would lend substantial credibility to Hood's assertions" that he acted in self-defense, Judge Mark Bailey wrote, adding that the court declines the state's invitation to apply the harmless error doctrine.

Hood also appealed the sentence, but in reversing this for a new trial, the court declined to address that issue.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well