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Appellate court upholds murder conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found the circumstantial evidence presented at trial was sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a man killed his wife.

In Scott Pattison v. State of Indiana, No. 85A02-1101-CR-88, Scott Pattison challenged his felony murder conviction, arguing the trial court violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution by admitting surveillance equipment and video into evidence. He also claimed the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the jury to examine a weightlifting machine during deliberations and by refusing his request to question the jurors about their examination of the machine.

Pattison called 911 to say that his wife, Lisa, wasn’t breathing; she later died at the hospital. Pattison told police that he had come home from work to find his wife’s body in their exercise room, lying on a weightlifting bench with a weight bar pinned across her throat. Police saw Pattison’s home had a surveillance system but didn’t think it recorded anything since a DVD was missing from the slot. Police later learned that the surveillance system recorded to an internal hard drive. A search warrant allowed for police to seize the system, which held a recording showing Pattison arriving home from work hours earlier than what he told police.

At trial, the weightlifting machine was installed in the courtroom and the jury was allowed to come back into the room during deliberations to examine it. Some jurors recreated scenarios played out during the trial by detectives and witnesses.

The appellate court found a lot of the information used in the probable cause affidavit was stale, and it was a close call, but the remaining information could support the search warrant under the federal and state constitutions. The judges also found no issues with the jurors’ examination of the weightlifting machine because the experiments the jurors conducted with it were in line with the testimony presented at trial. There was also no abuse of discretion by the trial court in denying Pattison’s request to question the jury about their experiments.

The circumstantial evidence in the case – including that the Pattisons’ marriage was under severe stress and Lisa’s neck injury wasn’t consistent with the weight bar falling on her neck – was sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Pattison killed his wife, the judges ruled.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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