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Supreme Court upholds refusal to give jury instruction

March 19, 2012

The Indiana Supreme Court has adopted the full opinion of the Indiana Court of Appeals, which upheld the decision by a trial court not to give a defendant’s tendered instructions on lesser-included offenses of murder.

In Jimmie E. Jones, Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 29S02-1108-CR-511, Jimmie Jones was charged with murder and tendered instructions on reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter as lesser-included offenses to the murder charge. The trial court refused the instructions, finding the lesser-included offenses weren’t support by the evidence.

The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state and outlined the three-step test for determining when a trial court should instruct the jury on a lesser-included offense. The COA found the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by finding no serious evidentiary dispute. It also held that the state foreclosed an instruction on the factually lesser-included offense by omitting from Jones’ charging information any reference to battery.

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