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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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