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DNA in glove at scene sufficient to uphold burglary conviction

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a conviction vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The high court unanimously affirmed a conviction of Class C felony burglary with a habitual offender enhancement, finding a glove at the crime scene with the suspect’s DNA was sufficient for a jury to determine guilt.

In Martin Meehan v. State of Indiana, 71S04-1308-CR-535, Meehan was convicted in St. Joseph Superior Court of breaking into a mechanical contracting business. An employee called police after seeing obvious signs of forced entry, and when police arrived they found a glove on the floor inside the business. The employee testified that the glove wasn’t there when he locked up the previous day, and testing revealed the glove contained only DNA that matched Meehan.

When the Court of Appeals reversed, it held that affirming the conviction “would be creating a precedent that would make it relatively easy for criminals to frame other individuals; all they would need to do is obtain an object with someone else’s DNA and leave it at the crime scene.”

“Here is where we disagree,” Justice Steven David wrote for the unanimous Supreme Court. “The existence of the possibility of being 'framed' does not amount to a lack of substantial evidence of probative value from which the jury could reasonably infer that Meehan committed the burglary.

“Because there was substantial evidence of probative value from which the jury could reasonably infer that Meehan was guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt, we will not disturb the jury’s verdict,” David wrote. The case was remanded to the trial court, however, with instructions to order a prohibited consecutive habitual offender enhancement instead be served concurrent with a prior such enhancement.   







 

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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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