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Court upholds robbery conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a woman’s Class B felony robbery conviction over her objections that the jury’s guilty finding for assisting a criminal is logically inconsistent with its guilty finding for robbery as an accomplice.

Dominique Woods drove the getaway car in a robbery of a woman’s purse. The woman jumped on the car to try to stop the car, and Woods drove away, causing injuries to the victim. After her arrest, Woods admitted she knew the robber was broke and wanted someone to rob. She was charged with Class B felony robbery, Class C felony robbery, Class C felony battery, Class D felony resisting law enforcement, and Class D felony assisting a criminal. The jury was instructed on accomplice liability; the jury found her guilty of Class B felony robbery, Class C felony robbery, Class A misdemeanor criminal recklessness as a lesser included offense of the battery charge, and Class D felony assisting a criminal.

Woods claimed based on Joseph v. State, 659 N.E.2d 676 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), that the robbery and assisting a criminal verdicts were inconsistent and she couldn’t be convicted of both offenses. The trial court found Joseph controlling and entered a judgment of conviction for the Class B felony robbery and Class A misdemeanor criminal recklessness only.

According to Woods, the offenses of robbery and assisting a criminal are mutually exclusive, and the jury could not have found her guilty of both offenses. She asked for her robbery conviction to be vacated or to have a new trial.

In Dominique D. Woods v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-1107-CR-292, the judges found there was sufficient evidence to support Woods committed Class B felony robbery as an accomplice.

“We conclude that, as in Newgent and Joseph, Woods’s actions after Manning stole the purse merely represented her continuing scheme or plan to aid Manning in the robbery. Moreover, as in Newgent and Joseph, the allegedly inconsistent guilty verdicts do not necessitate a new trial or reversal of the robbery conviction,” wrote Judge Michael Barnes. “Although the jury found Woods guilty of Class B felony robbery, Class C felony robbery, Class A misdemeanor criminal recklessness as a lesser included offense of the battery charge, and Class D felony assisting a criminal, the trial court properly entered judgment of conviction and sentenced her for the Class B felony robbery and Class A misdemeanor criminal recklessness only.”

 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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