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DNA in glove at scene sufficient to uphold burglary conviction

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a conviction vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The high court unanimously affirmed a conviction of Class C felony burglary with a habitual offender enhancement, finding a glove at the crime scene with the suspect’s DNA was sufficient for a jury to determine guilt.

In Martin Meehan v. State of Indiana, 71S04-1308-CR-535, Meehan was convicted in St. Joseph Superior Court of breaking into a mechanical contracting business. An employee called police after seeing obvious signs of forced entry, and when police arrived they found a glove on the floor inside the business. The employee testified that the glove wasn’t there when he locked up the previous day, and testing revealed the glove contained only DNA that matched Meehan.

When the Court of Appeals reversed, it held that affirming the conviction “would be creating a precedent that would make it relatively easy for criminals to frame other individuals; all they would need to do is obtain an object with someone else’s DNA and leave it at the crime scene.”

“Here is where we disagree,” Justice Steven David wrote for the unanimous Supreme Court. “The existence of the possibility of being 'framed' does not amount to a lack of substantial evidence of probative value from which the jury could reasonably infer that Meehan committed the burglary.

“Because there was substantial evidence of probative value from which the jury could reasonably infer that Meehan was guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt, we will not disturb the jury’s verdict,” David wrote. The case was remanded to the trial court, however, with instructions to order a prohibited consecutive habitual offender enhancement instead be served concurrent with a prior such enhancement.   







 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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