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Court reverses feticide convictions on double jeopardy grounds

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The man who shot a pregnant teller during a bank robbery, which led to the death of her twins, had his two felony feticide convictions vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals because of double jeopardy violations.

Brian Kendrick, who was convicted of Class A felony attempted murder, Class B felony robbery, two counts of Class C felony feticide, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, argued that his violations for attempted murder and feticide violated the Indiana Constitution’s double jeopardy clause. During a robbery of a bank in Indianapolis in 2008, Kendrick jumped over the counter and shot teller Katherine Shuffield in the abdomen. She was pregnant and as a result of her injuries, the babies had to be delivered at 22 weeks gestation. One was stillborn and the other survived only a few hours after delivery.

The Court of Appeals determined in Brian Kendrick v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1003-CR-300, that the evidentiary facts used to establish the feticide convictions established all of the elements of the attempted murder conviction. The convictions resulted from one act – the shooting of Shuffield in the stomach. The state presented additional evidence regarding her pregnancy and resulting termination to establish the feticide convictions, but didn’t present any additional evidence to establish attempted murder, wrote Judge Ezra Friedlander.

The judges remanded for re-sentencing, noting the trial court may now consider Shuffield’s pregnancy and termination of it in crafting Kendrick’s sentence for attempted murder. But, the court can’t impose an aggregate sentence in excess of 53 years, his original aggregate sentence, wrote Judge Friedlander.

The appellate court also found the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding witness Gilberto Mendez unavailable for trial, as the state made a good faith effort to obtain his presence at trial. Mendez believed he was supposed to testify at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday, but the prosecution told him that wasn’t the case. Actually, it was the defense that had him scheduled to testify. The prosecution told Mendez to be prepared to testify the next day, but instead he left to work in Kentucky.

The judges also concluded that Kendrick’s challenge to three statements made by prosecutors during his trial did not amount to prosecutorial misconduct entitling him to a new trial.

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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