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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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