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Justices affirm rejection of tendered jury instruction

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Judges have wide discretion regarding when and whether to use tendered jury instructions, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in affirming the conviction of a criminal defendant whose proffered instructions on defense of another were rejected.

In Jamar Washington v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1212-CR-669, Washington appealed a Marion Superior judge’s decision not to use tendered jury instructions and instead rely on the Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction.

Washington was convicted of two counts of resisting law enforcement, one count of battery on a law enforcement officer resulting in injury one count of disorderly conduct after a melee in downtown Indianapolis. The mother of his then-8-month-old son confronted him outside a nightclub and handed the child to someone else as fighting ensued.

A police officer grabbed the mother from behind in an attempt to break up the fighting, and Washington said he didn’t know the woman had handed the baby to someone else when he grabbed the officer by the neck in an attempt to pull him off the woman.

Washington’s tendered jury instructions included the observation that someone defending another “will not be accountable for an error in judgment as to the need to use force or the amount of force necessary.” The trial court found Washington’s tendered instructions cumulative and unnecessary in light of the pattern instructions.

“We hold that the Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction is a correct statement of the law and continues to serve as the primary guide for our trial judges on this issue,” Justice Steven David wrote for the unanimous court. “It contains language which compliments the self-defense or defense of another statute regarding the factors as they existed in the mind of the defendant balanced against whether such belief was reasonable.

“Trial courts continue to have the discretion to augment the pattern instructions whenever they deem appropriate and to refuse any tendered instructions,” the court held. “Their decisions will be reviewed for an abuse of discretion.”

Justices remanded the case to correct the sentencing abstract that reflects conviction of resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony that should be entered as a Class A misdemeanor.




 

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  1. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

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  3. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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