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Convictions don't violate double jeopardy

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed today a post-conviction court's denial of a defendant's petition for relief, finding his convictions of burglary and attempted armed robbery didn't violate Indiana's double jeopardy clause.

In Roderick Lee v. State of Indiana, No. 27S04-0805-PC-226, Roderick Lee petitioned for post-conviction relief, arguing his trial and appellate counsel was ineffective because counsel didn't argue Lee's convictions violated the double jeopardy clause under the "actual evidence" test in Richardson v. State, 717 N.E.2d 32 (Ind. 1999).

But the Supreme Court found there was a reasonable possibility that Lee's jury used exactly the same set of facts to establish both convictions. The evidence presented at Lee's trial boils down to four facts: Lee barged into the home, had a gun, made threats, and demanded money, wrote Justice Theodore Boehm. And those facts can support both convictions.

As in Redman v. State, 743 N.E.2d 263 (Ind. 2001), and in Lee's case, there was extended evidence of a protracted crime and the prosecution emphasized the evidence that was distinct to each crime, wrote the justice. There is no reasonable possibility that Lee's jury only used the barging into the home and ignored the rest of the evidence once Lee was inside the home as substantial steps toward taking property, so his convictions don't violate double jeopardy.

"We note that more deliberate prosecution of multiple offenses would avoid these double jeopardy problems. Had the charges, instructions, and closing argument cited the fact of barging into the home as to the burglary alone, and the threats and demands as to the attempted armed robbery, there would be no double jeopardy question, and the trial and appellate courts would not have been required to assess the degree of likelihood of overlapping convictions," he wrote.

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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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