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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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