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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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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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