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COA affirms murder conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found the state presented sufficient substantive evidence to establish that a man killed his sister’s boyfriend while staying in her apartment.

Charles Lawrence Sr. spent the night with his sister, Tekelia Lawrence, so she would feel safe after her boyfriend hit her in the mouth with a bottle. The boyfriend, Quinton Lewis, had a key to her apartment. Tekelia Lawrence smoked marijuana, took two Vicodin pills and went to bed while her brother stayed up. She awoke to the sound of “pops” and saw that her front door was open and her brother was gone. She chained the door from the inside and went back to bed.

Police arrived later that morning after someone found Lewis’ body in the hallway on the bottom floor of the apartment building. A trail of blood led to Tekelia Lawrence’s front door, there was an empty shell casing inside her apartment, and there was a bullet hole in the wall. In a state of shock, Tekelia Lawrence told police that her brother had been at the apartment and stayed with her so she could sleep.

Charles Lawrence was charged with and convicted of murder and being a habitual offender and sentenced to 90 years.

Charles Lawrence argued that the evidence placing him at the scene consisted almost entirely of impeachment evidence rather than substantive evidence. He asserted that there was insufficient substantive evidence to sustain the verdict because the only evidence presented that he was in the apartment at the time of the murder came in through the state’s impeachment of its own witnesses.

At the trial, Tekelia Lawrence testified that her brother was gone before the murder, but the state offered her prior statements to police that he had stayed the night so she could sleep as both impeachment and substantive evidence. In Charles Lawrence, Sr. v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1105-CR-194, Judge Terry Crone noted that Charles Lawrence’s attorney did not object to the admission of some of the statements nor did the attorney request an admonishment or jury instruction limiting the use of any of those statements to impeachment only.

The appellate court found substantial evidence of probative value to support the conclusion Charles Lawrence murdered Lewis.  

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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