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COA: State could charge man for leaving scene of fatal accident

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction for failing to return to the scene of a fatal accident, finding the state wasn’t barred under collateral estoppel principles from prosecuting him for the same crime as another man who had already been convicted of causing the victim’s death.

Kevin Barton argued that because Steven Brinkley had already been convicted of Class C felony failure to return to the scene of an accident resulting in death, Barton couldn’t be prosecuted for the same crime. Brinkley initially hit Jamie Beaty, who was walking in the road, and didn’t stop. Moments later, Barton’s truck hit and dragged Beaty’s body.  Barton initially stopped, then got in his truck and called 911, providing only that someone had been hit by a car. Another bystander stopped and called 911, after which Barton ran from the scene back to his truck. He was later arrested.

The trial court denied his motion to dismiss the failure to return charge. At trial, Barton first brought up that he saw a white car hit Beaty. He claimed he had swerved to miss her in the road and pulled over to help, but evidence on his truck showed he struck the woman.

Indiana Code Section 9-26-1-1 requires a driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to stop, remain at the scene, and provide his or her name, address, and vehicle registration information. The appellate judges found that Barton’s arguments regarding his prosecution are misguided because the statute doesn’t require the charged driver cause the death or injury that occurred.

“The duties of Indiana Code section 9-26-1-1 apply to a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, regardless of whether the driver’s vehicle struck anyone or anything,” wrote Judge James Kirsch in Kevin Barton v. State of Indiana, No. 18A04-0910-CR-609. “Thus, contrary to Barton’s assertion, the statute does not require a causal relationship with the death, only involvement in the accident.”

Barton also argued that the prosecutor’s four statements during closing arguments regarding Barton’s claim that he saw a white car hit Beaty were Doyle violations. Even though he brought his objection to the statements to the court’s attention, Barton didn’t request admonishment or a mistrial, so he waived his claim of error, wrote the judge.

The appellate court also affirmed the denial of a proposed jury instruction on the defense of mistake of fact. The trial court properly determined the substance of Barton’s proposed jury instruction was adequately covered by other instructions.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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