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High court rules man could be retried

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The Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prevent the state from retrying a man who was acquitted by a jury in the murder of one person, but in which the jury couldn’t return a verdict on the defendant's attempted murder charge of another man, the Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday.

In Tyrus D. Coleman v. State of Indiana, No. 20S03-1008-CR-458, Tyrus Coleman was charged with the murder of Jermaine Jackson and the attempted murder of Jackson’s father, Anthony Dye. Jackson and Dye showed up at Coleman’s property, both armed, to confront a man who had robbed Dye at gunpoint months earlier. Coleman tried to talk Jackson into leaving. Coleman ended up shooting Dye twice and then shot Jackson, who died from his injuries.

Coleman claimed he acted in self defense. He was acquitted in the murder of Jackson but the jury wasn’t able to reach a verdict in his attempted murder charge relating to Dye. He was retried, over Coleman’s motion to dismiss claiming Double Jeopardy violations, and found guilty. The trial court sentenced him to 45 years.

The Indiana Court of Appeals split in reversing Coleman’s attempted murder conviction on grounds of collateral estoppel, but the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Coleman could be retried. They rejected Coleman’s argument that because of the brief interval between the two shootings, that was a single transaction and his general fear of death or bodily harm applied equally to Dye and his son.

At his first trial, Coleman’s attorney specifically addressed the separate shootings and argued each was justified by Coleman’s fear of death or injury from Dye and then Jackson, wrote Justice Robert Rucker. He also noted that the acquittal relating to Jackson’s murder, even if based on self defense, did not amount to the jury determining that Coleman acted in self defense with respect to the attempted murder of Dye.

“Thus, in retrying Coleman the State did not relitigate an issue that was necessarily decided by the jury in the first trial. Instead, the jury was asked to make the determination of whether Coleman acted in self-defense when he shot Dye. This issue was not decided during the first trial. Thus, collateral estoppel did not bar relitigation,” he wrote.

The justices also determined there was no misconduct when the prosecutor didn’t point out an inconsistency in Dye’s testimony between the first and second trials.

Coleman also wanted certain statements admitted regarding words Dye used when he came to Coleman’s property. The trial court sustained the state’s hearsay objection, which was an error, but it was harmless because the evidence was excludable on the grounds of relevance, wrote Justice Rucker.

The high court also found the trial court didn’t err in excluding statements attributable to Jackson because there was nothing contained in those statements suggesting they placed Coleman in fear of Dye, as Coleman argued. The trial court didn’t err in not allowing Coleman to introduce evidence of his acquittal and the justices also concluded that his sentence is appropriate.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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