ILNews

Man knowingly waived right to jury trial on all charges

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that he only agreed to a bench trial on one of the seven charges he faced following a violent altercation with his girlfriend.

Michael Johnson punched, kicked, and hit his girlfriend, I.B., after she came home in the early morning hours after being gone all night. He accused her of cheating on him, according to the court record. After beating her, he told her to “turn around” because he wanted to have sex. I.B. said she complied because she was afraid and didn’t want to get beaten again.

Johnson was charged with and convicted of Class B felonies criminal confinement and rape; Class C felony battery; Class D felonies intimidation and strangulation; and Class A misdemeanor interfering with the reporting of a crime.

He argued that he did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial on all of his charges, the state abused its discretion in denying Johnson the right to cross-examine I.B. about past sexual conduct, and that the state didn’t prove he committed rape and intimidation.

Johnson’s written waiver only listed one count of Class B felony criminal confinement, which was the lead, most serious charge.

“It seems unlikely that Johnson would waive his right to a jury trial on his most serious charge and not on the rest,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote in Michael Johnson v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1307-CR-562.  

“Second, all of Johnson’s charges were a part of the same cause, and provision number 4 of the waiver states, ‘I hereby give up my constitutional rights to a trial by jury and ask that the case be tried by the Court without a jury.’ Under the plain language of this provision, Johnson agreed to waive his right to a jury trial of the entire case, not merely Class B felony criminal confinement. Third, Johnson’s attorney signed the waiver, which indicates that Johnson acted on the advice and information of his legal counsel when filing his waiver.”

Johnson also failed to object to being tried on all of his charges during his bench trial.

The judges also ruled Johnson was precluded from introducing evidence of I.B.’s prior sexual conduct at trial because he did not follow Evidence Rule 412’s procedural requirements. As such, he waived this issue on appeal. The judges also found the state provided sufficient evidence to support his convictions.

Judge Cale Bradford concurred in result in a separate opinion, noting that he would find Johnson waived any argument concerning I.B.’s testimony because he made no offer of proof as to what her testimony would have been.

 

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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