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Granted transfers include hearsay case

September 24, 2008

The Indiana Supreme Court has granted two transfers, including a case involving whether a warrant based on hearsay was supported by probable cause or fell under the good faith exception.

In George Jackson v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0711-CR-988, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed George Jackson's conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. The court found the affidavit used to grant the search warrant of Jackson's home wasn't supported by information that established the credibility of the informant or contained information that established the totality of the circumstances corroborates the hearsay.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented, writing the search warrant was supported by probable cause. Even though the detective's sworn testimony that led to the search warrant was based on hearsay, his testimony was sufficient to support issuing the search warrant, wrote the chief judge. Even if probable cause didn't exist, Chief Judge Baker believed the good faith exception applies.

In Scottie R. Adams v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0711-CR-526, Scottie Adams' convictions of voluntary manslaughter, carrying a handgun without a license, and the finding he is a habitual offender were affirmed by the appellate court. Because the evidence showed Adams may have acted under sudden heat when he shot the victim, the trial court properly instructed the jury on the offense of voluntary manslaughter. The Indiana Court of Appeals also concluded Adams failed to show that a witness' refusal to testify because he felt threatened had a prejudicial impact on the jury to the extent a mistrial was warranted.

Judge Patricia Riley dissented, finding the trial court should have granted Adams' motion for a mistral because the jury wasn't presented with evidence showing Adams was somehow responsible for causing the witness to fear testifying or establishing Adams wasn't connected to the witness' fears. Judge Riley wrote she would reverse Adams' convictions and habitual offender finding and allow the state to retry him.

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