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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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