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COA says argument over wording of robbery statute is issue of first impression

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An argument over the wording of the state’s robbery statute gave the Indiana Court of Appeals pause but ultimately did not sway its ruling in affirming a conviction of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.

The appellants in Kenyatta Erkins and Ugbe Ojile v. State of Indiana, 58A01-1205-CR-215, raised multiple issues in their appeal of their convictions for Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and Class A felony attempt to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.

In particular, Kenyatta Erkins and Ugbe Ojile asserted that the evidence was insufficient to support their convictions for Class A felony conspiracy because the would-be victim was not harmed.

The pair had been watching while the potential victim, S.M., played cards at the Grand Victoria Casino. Although they subsequently talked on their cell phones about how much money S.M. had and about robbing S.M., they never actually robbed the would-be victim.

Early the next morning, Ohio police stopped and searched Erkin’s vehicle. They found dark clothing, camouflage gloves, a roll of duct tape, and a .49 caliber Glock handgun, a BB gun and a .40 caliber cartridge.

Erkins and Ojile were charged and found guilty.

On appeal, the pair contended the evidence was insufficient to support their convictions for Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. They argued the use of the word “results” in the robbery statute, Indiana Code 35-42-5-1, requires the actual existence of serious bodily injury.
 
The appeals court noted this is an issue of first impression. The appellants cited no caselaw supporting their argument and the court did not find any cases, either in Indiana or its sister states, that address this issue.

Still, the COA pointed out Erkins and Ojile were not charged with robbery but rather charged and convicted of conspiracy.

The court concluded that the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction for a Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery where the state establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the co-conspirators intended and agreed to cause serious bodily injury to the victim in perpetrating the robbery.

Accordingly, the COA found an individual could find beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellants intended and agreed to harm S.M. when they robbed him.

The COA, rejecting Erkins’ and Ojile’s argument on the sufficiency of the evidence along with the other arguments they raised, affirmed the pair’s convictions.  
 

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  • Illegal search
    Cops stopped and searched the car, didn't read anything about a search warrant, which without, violated their 4th ammendment rights the right to privacy. Also did not see any reason for making a traffic stop!
  • COA screws up again
    I want to caution everyone, if going to a costume party, have your costume delivered to the party, dress there, remove and discard before leaving. It appears that our courts can lock people up, even when there is no actual victim or no actual crime. I assume a jury made this conviction and I hope you got home in time for dinner. Juries in the United States have become a joke. A bunch of strangers sitting in judgement of another human being, for the most part don't give a crap about that person. They are more concerned with getting out of there, so they can do whatever they want to do!

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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