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Judges rule state lacks authority to appeal dismissed case

July 30, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed the state’s appeal of a criminal case in which a trial court granted the state’s motion to dismiss.

In State of Indiana v. Raymond P. Coleman, 29A05-1108-CR-435, the Court of Appeals held that the state had no grounds to attempt to reinstate two counts of Class B felony criminal confinement, two counts of Class C felony battery, and one count of Class D felony pointing a firearm against Raymond Coleman for an alleged incident.

The state requested the dismissal, and the trial court granted it, after Coleman objected to the state’s request that the court declare the victim unavailable and enter her deposition testimony into evidence.

The court declined to find the victim unavailable, preventing deposition testimony from being admitted into evidence. After the trial court denied the state’s motion to reconsider, the state moved to dismiss, which the court granted.

In its appeal, the state argued that Indiana Code 35-38-4-2(5) gave the state authority to appeal by stating appeals are permitted “from an order granting a motion to suppress evidence, if the ultimate effect of the order is to preclude further prosecution.”

But the unanimous appeals court ruling held that Coleman didn’t move to suppress evidence, but rather objected on the basis that she was not an available witness.

“In light of the clear language of the statute, we are not at liberty to conclude that the legislature has authorized the state to appeal any adverse evidentiary ruling that deals a fatal blow to the state’s case,” Senior Judge William Garrard wrote for the unanimous panel.

 

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