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Judges uphold man’s conspiracy conviction

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Although the state charged a man with the non-existent crime of “conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery,” the record shows Matthew Wilhoite was actually convicted of conspiring to commit armed robbery. As such, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected his claim he was convicted of a crime that doesn’t exist.

Wilhoite and two others developed a plan to rob Donald Willis. However, the armed robbery was unsuccessful and Wilhoite was arrested a short time later. The state alleged Wilhoite committed “conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery, a Class B felony,” a crime Wilhoite asserts doesn’t exist.

He didn’t raise this issue during his trial, so the Court of Appeals looked at his argument to determine whether there was fundamental error. The judges concluded there was not.

While the panel agreed that people should not be charged with conspiring to attempt a crime, and that the state referenced a non-existent crime on the charging information, the judges found Wilhoite did not demonstrate fundamental error.

The record reflects that he was convicted of conspiring to commit armed robbery and the jury was instructed on the elements of conspiracy.

“Despite the erroneous title given to his crime, the information indicated elements for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and the jury instructions informed the jurors of the elements they needed to find Wilhoite guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, including ‘the intent to commit the crime,’” Judge Melissa May wrote in Matthew P. Wilhoite v. State of Indiana, 34A04-1303-CR-138. “Thus, the fact that the erroneous name of the crime listed at the top of the charging information did not amount to fundamental error.”

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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