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Conviction overturned because of testimony about nickname

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A man’s felony conviction was overturned after a split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the detective’s testimony about how he identified and found the man was inadmissible hearsay.

Shawn Blount was convicted of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and sentenced to 12 years following a shooting at an Indianapolis motel.

Detectives were conducting surveillance of the scene at the time the gun was fired. In the mayhem afterwards, they located a mother and her young son who gave law enforcement the nickname of the shooter. From that information, the detectives were able to identify Blount.

Over the objections of the defense, the trial court allowed the detective to relay what the mother and son had told him. This gave Blount grounds for an appeal in which he argued the court abused is discretion by admitting hearsay evidence.

The state asserted the testimony was not hearsay because it was offered only to show how the detectives investigated the shooting and eventually identified Blount as the shooter.

“How the police narrowed the investigation to Blount was irrelevant to any contested issue in the case,” Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote in Shawn Blount v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1304-CR-365. “Moreover, the prejudicial impact of the testimony was great: in a jury trial to determine whether Blount unlawfully possessed a firearm, Detective Smith related out-of-court statements asserting that Blount possessed a firearm. Any probative value to the statements were thus substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. We therefore conclude that Detective Smith’s testimony was inadmissible hearsay and that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting it.”

The Court of Appeals reserved Blount’s conviction and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. Judge James Kirsch dissented without opinion.

 
 

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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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