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COA declines to reverse conviction after co-defendant’s conviction overturned

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A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday did not agree with a defendant that his conviction of attempted aggravated battery should be reversed based on the reasoning of a separate appeals panel that overturned the same conviction of his co-defendant.

Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik and Judges Edward Najam and Elaine Brown granted Marquise Lee’s request for rehearing, in which he sought to have the affirmation of his Class B felony conviction of attempted aggravated battery overturned. Lee, his mother, Latoya Lee, and Billy Young were each charged with the murder of Ramon Gude after they went to his home to beat him up. An unidentified man with the three shot Gude, which resulted in his death. The three were tried jointly to the bench, and the court involuntarily dismissed murder charges. The court then found each of them guilty of attempted aggravated battery as a lesser-included offense. Lee’s mother’s conviction was affirmed as well, but Young’s conviction was reversed.

Lee never argued on appeal that attempted aggravated battery was not a lesser included offense to murder nor did he argue the state’s evidence at trial was an impermissible variance from the charging information. In Young, the appeals panel concluded that the trial court found the alleged facts underlying the murder charge were not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and Young’s conviction for attempted aggravated battery was based on other evidence presented at trial. As such, his conviction is not a lesser-included offense of the murder charge.

In Marquise Lee v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1310-CR-869, the judges noted that Lee did not preserve this issue for appellate review and disagreed with the Young panel that the trial court did not present the defendants with a clear opportunity for a timely objection. When dismissing the murder charge, the judge explicitly told the defendants he would consider lesser-included offenses.

“As the Young panel recognized, ‘[a]t first blush, it would seem attempted aggravated battery’ is an inherently included lesser offense to murder. This fact alone demonstrates that the trial court did not commit an ‘egregious’ and ‘blatant” error,” he wrote.  

Najam then pointed to cases in which the COA has long held that attempted aggravated battery is an inherently lesser-included offense to attempted murder.

“And it should go without saying that attempted murder is an inherently lesser included offense to murder,” he continued. “Thus, the trial court did not commit fundamental error when it entered judgment against Marquise for attempted aggravated battery as an inherently lesser included offense to the charge of murder.”

A separate appeals panel also granted Latoya Lee’s request for rehearing but denied reversing its earlier decision, Latoya C. Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)

 
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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