ILNews

Conviction overturned because of testimony about nickname

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A man’s felony conviction was overturned after a split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the detective’s testimony about how he identified and found the man was inadmissible hearsay.

Shawn Blount was convicted of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and sentenced to 12 years following a shooting at an Indianapolis motel.

Detectives were conducting surveillance of the scene at the time the gun was fired. In the mayhem afterwards, they located a mother and her young son who gave law enforcement the nickname of the shooter. From that information, the detectives were able to identify Blount.

Over the objections of the defense, the trial court allowed the detective to relay what the mother and son had told him. This gave Blount grounds for an appeal in which he argued the court abused is discretion by admitting hearsay evidence.

The state asserted the testimony was not hearsay because it was offered only to show how the detectives investigated the shooting and eventually identified Blount as the shooter.

“How the police narrowed the investigation to Blount was irrelevant to any contested issue in the case,” Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote in Shawn Blount v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1304-CR-365. “Moreover, the prejudicial impact of the testimony was great: in a jury trial to determine whether Blount unlawfully possessed a firearm, Detective Smith related out-of-court statements asserting that Blount possessed a firearm. Any probative value to the statements were thus substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. We therefore conclude that Detective Smith’s testimony was inadmissible hearsay and that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting it.”

The Court of Appeals reserved Blount’s conviction and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. Judge James Kirsch dissented without opinion.

 
 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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