COA: State could charge man for leaving scene of fatal accident

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction for failing to return to the scene of a fatal accident, finding the state wasn’t barred under collateral estoppel principles from prosecuting him for the same crime as another man who had already been convicted of causing the victim’s death.

Kevin Barton argued that because Steven Brinkley had already been convicted of Class C felony failure to return to the scene of an accident resulting in death, Barton couldn’t be prosecuted for the same crime. Brinkley initially hit Jamie Beaty, who was walking in the road, and didn’t stop. Moments later, Barton’s truck hit and dragged Beaty’s body.  Barton initially stopped, then got in his truck and called 911, providing only that someone had been hit by a car. Another bystander stopped and called 911, after which Barton ran from the scene back to his truck. He was later arrested.

The trial court denied his motion to dismiss the failure to return charge. At trial, Barton first brought up that he saw a white car hit Beaty. He claimed he had swerved to miss her in the road and pulled over to help, but evidence on his truck showed he struck the woman.

Indiana Code Section 9-26-1-1 requires a driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to stop, remain at the scene, and provide his or her name, address, and vehicle registration information. The appellate judges found that Barton’s arguments regarding his prosecution are misguided because the statute doesn’t require the charged driver cause the death or injury that occurred.

“The duties of Indiana Code section 9-26-1-1 apply to a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, regardless of whether the driver’s vehicle struck anyone or anything,” wrote Judge James Kirsch in Kevin Barton v. State of Indiana, No. 18A04-0910-CR-609. “Thus, contrary to Barton’s assertion, the statute does not require a causal relationship with the death, only involvement in the accident.”

Barton also argued that the prosecutor’s four statements during closing arguments regarding Barton’s claim that he saw a white car hit Beaty were Doyle violations. Even though he brought his objection to the statements to the court’s attention, Barton didn’t request admonishment or a mistrial, so he waived his claim of error, wrote the judge.

The appellate court also affirmed the denial of a proposed jury instruction on the defense of mistake of fact. The trial court properly determined the substance of Barton’s proposed jury instruction was adequately covered by other instructions.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues