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No fundamental error in jury seeing previously dismissed counts

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The Indiana Court of Appeals relied in part on two decades-old cases from the state Supreme Court to find that exposing the jury to dismissed charges did not deprive a defendant of a fundamentally fair trial.

In Eriberto Quiroz v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1107-CR-577, Eriberto Quiroz appealed his convictions of Class A and Class C felony child molesting and argued that he was denied a fair trial when the jury was given a copy of the charging information which included counts that had been dismissed.

Quiroz, 27, had molested the six-year-old half-sister of his friend by pulling down the girl’s pants and licking her vagina. He also threatened her with a knife to not tell anyone.

The jury was given the charging information, which included two child molesting charges that were dismissed. He didn’t object at trial and the judge specifically instructed the jury that those two counts had been withdrawn and to not consider them when evaluating the other charges. Although the appellate court couldn’t find any Indiana case directly on point, it relied on Berry v. State, 196 Ind. 258, 148 N.E. 143 (1925), and Nordyke v. State, 213 Ind. 243, 11 N.E. 2d 165 (1937), as well as decisions from outside of Indiana to find there is no error in permitting the jury to have access to an information or indictment that has dismissed counts when the jury is also told that the dismissed counts aren’t to be considered or the charging instrument isn’t evidence.

“In short, while certainly not the best practice, the trial court did not commit fundamental error in including in the jury instructions a copy of the charging information that included the counts against Quiroz that had previously been dismissed,” wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

The judges ordered that Quiroz’s Class C felony conviction be vacated because the same act was used to support the Class C felony and Class A felony charges. The judges also upheld his 40-year sentence.

 

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  1. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

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  5. They ruled there is no absolute right to keep a license, whether it be for a lifetime or a short period of time. So with that being said, this state taught me at the age of 15 how to obtain that license. I am actually doing something that I was taught to do, I'm not breaking the law breaking the rules and according to the Interstate Compact the National Interstate Compact...driving while suspended is a minor offense. So, do with that what you will..Indiana sucks when it comes to the driving laws, they really and truly need to reevaluate their priorities and honestly put the good of the community first... I mean, what's more important the pedophile drug dealer or wasting time and money to keep us off the streets?

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