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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. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  3. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  5. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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