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Exclusion of money talk not a reversible error

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A trial court’s error in excluding explicit statements about money is not reversible and does not provide the grounds to overturn a drug conviction.

Marion Turner appealed his conviction for dealing in cocaine, as a Class A felony, arguing he was entrapped by a confidential informant working for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

When Turner testified at trial, he attempted to repeat statements allegedly made by the C.I., but the state objected on hearsay grounds. Turner countered that since the C.I. was acting as an agent of the state, his statements were admissible as statements of a party-opponent, an exception to the hearsay rule addressed by Indiana Evidence Rule 801(d)(2).

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with Turner. It found the C.I. was acting on behalf of the state and that his statements could properly be considered non-hearsay pursuant to Evidence Rule 801.

The Court of Appeals then considered the consequences of the trial court’s error in sustaining the state’s hearsay objection.

Once the trial court ruled in favor of the state, Turner made an offer of proof that included the C.I. contacting him multiple times wanting cocaine. Turner initially refused but then the informant offered more money.

In Marion Turner v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1302-CR-59, the COA ruled that although the jury was not specifically advised that the C.I. had offered to increase the purchase price, they did hear Turner’s testimony that “the intensity was basically up the ante.”

From this, the COA found, the jury could have “reasonably interpreted” that the C.I. was offering more cash. In addition, Turner had stated his finances were deteriorating and there was no indication that the C.I. ever offered anything of a non-monetary nature to induce the transaction.

The Court of Appeals concluded that the exclusion of the C.I.’s specific statement offering more money was, at most, a harmless error.
 

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  1. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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