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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. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  2. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  3. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  4. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

  5. What form or who do I talk to about a d felony which I hear is classified as a 6 now? Who do I talk to. About to get my degree and I need this to go away it's been over 7 years if that helps.

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