Court reverses motion-to-dismiss denial

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a defendant's motion to dismiss because he was improperly subjected to successive prosecutions prohibited under Indiana Code 35-41-4-4.

In Virgil Lee Haywood, Jr. v. State of Indiana, 48A02-0612-CR-1131, police approached Haywood after an alleged drunk-driving incident. Haywood's child was in his car, and he smelled of alcohol and failed several field sobriety tests. Haywood struggled with police and kicked an officer in the leg while refusing to sit in the back a police car. Haywood was charged in Madison County Court with neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony; operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor; operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more, a Class C misdemeanor; and operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class D felony.

In City Court, Haywood was charged with battery against a police officer, resisting law enforcement, and violation of probation. Haywood pleaded guilty to the City Court charges under a plea agreement.

He later filed a motion to dismiss the charges in county court, claiming prosecution on those charges was barred by previous prosecution of the City Court charges. The trial court denied his motion.

The Court of Appeals looked to Williams v. State, 762 N.E.2d 1216, 1219 (Ind. 2002) to determine whether the trial court properly denied Haywood's motion. The court had to decide if Haywood's offenses were part of a single scheme or plan that would require they should have been joined in the initial prosecution, which is required under the Successive Prosecution Statute to bar prosecution by reason of a previous prosecution.

The state conceded Haywood's charges all relate to the same incident but his motive for each conviction was different enough to warrant separate cases.

Just as in Williams, the defendant in this case committed a crime and then committed another in an attempt to avoid being caught for the original offenses. The court in Williams held that Williams' flight from the arresting officer did not break the continuity of the defendant's acts to require separate trials.

"As in Williams, it is apparent that Haywood's offenses were part of a single scheme or plan, and the Successive Prosecution Statute bars further prosecution on the (County Court) charges," wrote Chief Judge John Baker.

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