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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. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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