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Court didn't err in allowing impeachment testimony

May 25, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals found the trial court did not err in allowing a police detective to testify as to what a witness told him about a shooting.

In Tyjuan J. Dixon v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-1110-CR-482, Tyjuan Dixon appealed his convictions of murder and two counts of Class A felony attempted murder. Dixon showed up at the apartment complex of his half-brother, Edward Bond, to attempt to calm his half-brother down because of an argument. Dixon, in turn, shot three people, killing one and seriously injuring the other two.

At trial, the state called Bond’s girlfriend, Catrenna Walker, as a witness. She testified she couldn’t remember or recall whether Dixon got out of his car when he came to the complex or what she told police. The trial court, over Dixon’s objection, allowed the police detective who took Walker’s statement to provide extrinsic impeachment of her testimony.

“Walker neither admitted nor denied making the prior statement regarding Dixon’s attire and conduct, but testified that she did not recall making the statement, could not recall at trial whether she saw Dixon get out of the car, and reading the written transcript of her statement did not refresh her memory,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey.

 As in Dunlap v. State, 761 N.E.2d 837 (Ind. 2002), this does not take the decision on whether to admit the detective’s testimony and the written version of Walker’s statement outside “the ambit of the trial court’s discretion to determine inconsistency,” wrote the judge.

Even if the trial court had abused its discretion, the error was harmless because there were eyewitnesses who saw Dixon get out of his car and identified him as the shooter.

 

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