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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. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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