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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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