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Uncommunicative felon fails to persuade COA that trial court erred

December 30, 2011

The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with a trial court in determining that testimony about a felon’s silence post-arrest was not inappropriate.

In December 2001, Indiana State Trooper Luke Waikel pulled over Jeremy Peters for speeding. When Waikel approached the passenger window, Peters sped off and crashed his car. Waikel then pursued Peters on foot, and after he and another officer apprehended Peters, the troopers noticed Peters had cut his hand and needed medical attention. Peters did not speak to the officers when questioned.

In Jeremy L. Peters v. State of Indiana, No. 43A05-1103-CR-144, Peters claims that the trial court erred when it admitted testimony about his silence.  The state argues it used the testimony regarding Peters’ post-arrest pre-Miranda silence to explain why he was taken to the hospital, not to indicate he was uncooperative or to imply guilt. The COA agreed, holding that sufficient evidence existed to convict Peters.

The appellate court also held that the state presented sufficient evidence Peters committed Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and his sentence was not inappropriate, affirming the trial court in all regards.

 

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