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Court of Appeals points to ‘alarming trend’ in defendant’s appeal

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A defendant who attempted to have his conviction reversed by citing the fundamental error doctrine instead received a sharp rebuke from the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Carlos Hale appealed his conviction of robbery, a Class B felony, in Carlos Hale v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1202-CR-83. He argued the show-up identification was unduly suggestive and maintained the introduction of this evidence was a fundamental error.

A short time after a woman reported she had been robbed at gunpoint by two men outside her apartment, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers stopped a vehicle which contained Hale and three other men. Hale and Martell Stott matched the description provided by the victim.

Less than an hour after police stopped the vehicle, the victim was brought to the scene where she remained in the detective’s vehicle and viewed the four men, identifying Hale and Stott as the individuals who robbed her.

The victim subsequently identified Hale again during the trial without objection and the state presented evidence from the show-up identification. Hale was found guilty and sentenced to seven years.

The COA affirmed the trial court’s conviction. It found the lower court did not err by admitting the evidence of the show-up identification because the victim could clearly see Hale’s face during the robbery and she identified him soon after the incident.    

In addition, the court pointed out the defense counsel neither filed a pretrial motion to suppress the show-up identification nor did the defense counsel object to its admission at trial. An objection is required to preserve an error for review on appeal to give the trial court the opportunity to correct any errors before they become fundamental errors.

Writing for the majority, Judge John Baker highlighted the frequent misuse of the fundamental error doctrine.

“Nevertheless, this Court cannot ignore the alarming trend of questionable fundamental error claims,” Baker wrote. “For instance, it is not uncommon for a criminal defendant to argue on appeal that the introduction of evidence amounted to a fundamental error whenever the defendant failed to object to its admission at trial."




 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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