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COA orders new trial in resisting law enforcement case

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A Marion County judge violated a defendant’s right to due process when it allowed the charge of resisting law enforcement to go to trial even though the defendant showed purposeful discrimination by the prosecution during voir dire, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

In Michael Collier v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-1105-CR-229, the Court of Appeals reversed Michael Collier’s conviction of Class D felony resisting law enforcement and ordered a new trial. During voir dire, the prosecution exercised peremptory challenges to three of the four African-American members of the jury panel. Marion Superior Senior Judge Charles Wiles found that Collier had “made his case” and established purposeful discrimination on the part of the state, but then denied his Batson challenge and motion for mistrial and allowed the case to proceed.

The appellate court found Kribs v. State, 917 N.E.2d 1249 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), instructive. In that case, the trial court also made contradictory findings in convicting a defendant of entering a controlled area of an airport with a weapon or explosive as a Class A misdemeanor.

“Like the contradictory findings in Kribs, we must conclude that the trial court erred in permitting this matter to go to trial in light of its initial determination that Collier had met the challenge under Batson. Although Batson does not specify the remedy when there has been a showing of purposeful discrimination during voir dire, the trial court’s decision to allow the matter to proceed to trial certainly violated Collier’s right to due process as well as the jurors’ right to serve on the panel,” wrote Judge John Baker.



 

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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