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COA discusses jury-selection procedures

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Despite being sensitive to a defendant's concerns about having no African-Americans included in his jury pool, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his felony convictions of altering an original identification number and auto theft.

Darmon D. Bond challenged his felony convictions, arguing that the lack of African-Americans in the jury pool violated his Sixth Amendment jury trial rights; the admission of fingerprint test results violated his Sixth Amendment confrontation rights; and there wasn't sufficient evidence to support his conviction.

Police found a man's missing car parked outside Bond's home. The vehicle identification number and license plate didn't match the car. A forensic lab technician dusted for fingerprints and found prints on duct tape and the paper license plate; an examiner identified the prints as those of Bond. The technician and examiner testified at trial, but the person responsible for verifying the first examiner's results didn't appear or testify.

Bond had moved to strike the entire venire because it didn't represent a fair cross-section of the community, but the judge denied the motion, noting how the jury-panel selection process is entirely random.

In Darmon D. Bond v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0910-CR-457, the appellate court determined it was bound by Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357, 364 (1979), and Ewing v. State, 719 N.E.2d 1221, 1226 (Ind. 1999), and that Bond's claim can't prevail under Duren. Bond still asked the appellate court to change the criteria for determining whether the jury-selection procedure actually produces juries that are representative cross-sections of the community.

Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote the court was sensitive to Bond's concerns because jury-selection procedures in Indiana have changed recently in that the lists are now created by the state Judicial Center. Also, in other race- or gender-based constitutional jury challenges, the burden shifts more easily to the state to establish the legitimacy and neutrality of its procedures.

"Given the practical difficulties of showing systematic exclusion of minorities from jury pools in Indiana, we think easing the Duren burden for Hoosiers may be worth considering," she wrote, noting it's a good first step that the selection procedures are available online.

The appellate court also found that the method the examiner claimed to use was followed and her opinion was admissible. And because the absent examiner's results were never referenced at his trial, there is no predicate for a Sixth Amendment confrontation violation. The judges also affirmed sufficient evidence to support Bond's convictions.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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