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Court upholds convictions, sentence of a man who shot Indy officer

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s convictions and sentence related to the shooting of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer in the summer of 2008.

Brian K. Reese appealed his convictions of Class A felony attempted murder, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and Class C felony carrying a handgun, which was elevated due to a prior offense. He also challenged his 59-year sentence. Police went to Reese’s girlfriend’s home to speak to him about a murder investigation. He fled from police and shot Officer Jason Fishburn in the head and chest as he pursued Reese.   

Reese raised four issues on appeal – that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of uncharged bad acts in violation of Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b); the trial court abused its discretion in instructing the jury; whether there is sufficient evidence to support his attempted murder conviction; and whether he was properly sentenced.

Reese was granted a motion in limine to exclude any direct reference to his status as a homicide suspect at the time the officers came to his girlfriend’s home. He testified at trial that the police came to his home because they had a warrant out for him on a theft charge, not because he was a murder suspect. He also testified that he believed the police were chasing him because he was running around with a gun in his hand. After this testimony, the state was allowed to elicit testimony from his girlfriend that Reese knew he was a murder suspect.

“Accordingly, Reese’s testimony ignored the gravity of his legal peril and suggested that he faced only a relatively minor charge that would not motivate him to employ violence to escape,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey in Brian Reese v. State of Indiana, No. 64A03-1001-CR-18. “The trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that Reese offered misleading testimony that ‘opened the door’ to testimony that Reese was aware of his status as a murder suspect.”

The judges did believe Final Instruction 26, which said, “The intent to kill may be inferred from the nature of the attack and the circumstances surrounding the crime. The intent to kill may be inferred from the deliberate use of a deadly weapon in a manner likely to cause death or serious bodily injury,” could have been better written. But they found the use of “attack” to be at most a harmless error in light of Reese’s testimony that he deliberately fired multiple shots, two of which hit Fishburn.

There was also sufficient evidence to support his attempted murder conviction and his sentence. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by failing to identify undue financial hardship to Reese’s children as a significant mitigating factor because he, at best, sporadically provided temporary housing and entertainment for his kids, wrote the judge. There is also nothing in the nature of the offenses or the character of Reese that persuaded the appellate court that the maximum sentence given to Reese is inappropriate.
 

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  • Law,
    WAKE UP AMERICA All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. IT'S TIME FOR ALL AMERICANS TO STAND AND SPEAK UP MUST READ ARTICLES The Infallible Prosecutor: Google it 10,000 innocent people convicted each year Scalia's death row lunacy: Google it Most registered sex offenders are innocent www.wikipedia.org Type censorship in the U.S. in the search box IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR RIGHTS YOU DON'T HAVE ANY Jury nullification: A fundamental right! Indiana Constitution: Article1: Section 19: In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts. The 9th and 10th amendments to the constitution of the United States means the same thing. An unjust law is not a law at all and any person charged with violating an unjust law has not violated any law and should be found not guilty simply because the law is unjust! WE MUST PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTIONS

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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