ILNews

COA orders retrial in self-defense case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Court of Appeals determined a Marion County judge wrongly excluded evidence corroborating an Indianapolis man's self-defense claim and has ordered a new trial on a voluntary-manslaughter charge.

In Terrance Hood v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0703-CR-242, the appellate court reversed and remanded to Marion Superior Judge Tanya Walton Pratt's courtroom a case involving an August 2005 shooting outside a liquor store.

As Hood exited the store, a vehicle nearly crashed into him and he got into an argument with the driver. That intoxicated driver approached Hood, who reached into his minivan, pulled out a gun, and shot him six times before driving from the scene. The man later died, and Hood was eventually convicted of voluntary manslaughter and carrying a handgun without a license after a previous conviction. He received a 46-year sentence.

A key of the appeal was Hood's contention regarding excluded testimony about the driver possibly reaching for a gun at his waistline, and being drunk and "a little aggressive." The appellate court relied on a previous ruling in Brand v. State, 766 N.E.2d 772 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) that the concept of evidentiary relevance is broad in a self-defense case, and here the trial court should have allowed it.

The testimony "would lend substantial credibility to Hood's assertions" that he acted in self-defense, Judge Mark Bailey wrote, adding that the court declines the state's invitation to apply the harmless error doctrine.

Hood also appealed the sentence, but in reversing this for a new trial, the court declined to address that issue.
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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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