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Court clarifies continuing objection procedure

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If a trial court grants a continuing objection, counsel doesn't have to object each time the class of evidence is subsequently offered, but if the trial court doesn't specifically grant the right to a continuing objection, counsel must object to the evidence as it is offered in order to preserve the issue on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The appellate court used its opinion in Brandi Hayworth v. State of Indiana, No. 07A01-0804-CR-197, to clarify that the proper procedure when a continuing objection is granted is for counsel to remain silent during the subsequent admission of that class of evidence. In the instant case, Brandi Hayworth's attorney attempted to lodge a continuing objection, which wasn't granted. Subsequently, counsel would object to some evidence as either a continuing objection or offer no objection.

Hayworth was on trial for felony dealing in methamphetamine, felony possession of methamphetamine, and possession of anhydrous ammonia or ammonia solution with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm. Brown County Deputy Sheriff Scott Southerland prepared an affidavit for a search warrant of her home based on information from an unidentified informant; at trial, Southerland testified the informant hadn't actually seen any methamphetamine on the property, hadn't seen Hayworth manufacture the drug on the property or use the drug. The trial court denied Hayworth's motion to suppress; she was found guilty of felony dealing and possession of methamphetamine.

The Court of Appeals found Hayworth waived the issue that the trial court erred by admitting evidence found at her home during the execution of the search warrant. Because the trial court didn't grant her a continuing objection, she had to object to each and every piece of evidence in order to preserve her challenge on appeal; instead, for unknown reasons, Hayworth said "no objection" to some evidence, was silent about the admission of other evidence, or said "continuing objection." By saying "no objection" to the majority of evidence against her, she waived her right to appeal that evidence, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

However, the appellate court examined the admission of evidence for fundamental error. The trial court found the totality of the circumstances corroborated the informant's statements, but the Court of Appeals disagreed. The information affirmed in the search warrant was information the general public could gather by passing by the home and there was no evidence the informant had given the police correct information in the past, wrote the judge. Southerland's testimony at trial said the informant hadn't actually seen any drug activity, making his affidavit misleading. The hearsay in this case fails to satisfy the Fourth Amendment or Indiana Code Section 35-33-5-2, wrote Judge Vaidik, as there was no probable cause to support the search warrant.

The good faith exception also doesn't apply in the case because the magistrate was misled by the information in the affidavit. Southerland's admissions at the suppression hearing amount to deliberate, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct and the error of admitting the evidence was so prejudicial to Hayworth's rights that a fair trial was impossible, wrote Judge Vaidik. The appellate court reversed her convictions and remanded the case.

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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