jury instructions

Judges uphold man’s resisting law enforcement conviction

July 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the evidence to be sufficient to support a man’s conviction of misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction Monday. The judges also found no error in the trial court’s instructions to the jury.
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Explanation as to the spirit of the law was harmless error

February 11, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a trial court’s words to a jury about the spirit of Indiana’s criminal law was improper and an error, it was harmless and could not overturn a defendant’s sentence of life without parole.
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Erroneous instruction on accomplice liability not enough to get conviction overturned

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has split on whether erroneous jury instruction was a harmless error or gave the jurors another base for finding a defendant guilty of attempted murder.
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Judges split on whether jury instruction erroneous

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a man who shot at police when they attempted to serve a search warrant. The judges were, however, divided as to whether the trial court erred in giving jury instructions on the presumption of innocence.
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COA: Jury adequately instructed on presumption of innocence

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his child molestation conviction should be reversed because the trial court did not tender his jury instruction on the presumption of innocence. The judges found the court’s instruction adequately instructed the jury.
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8-year sentence upheld for teen who killed friend while street racing

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Madison County man who crashed his car while street racing, which killed one passenger and injured two others, could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court erred in declining to give a lesser-included instruction of reckless driving at his trial for reckless homicide.
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Justices affirm rejection of tendered jury instruction

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
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.
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COA: Admission of evidence of phone number did not affect verdict

October 25, 2013
Because of overwhelming evidence placing the defendant at the scene of a shooting, the admission of additional evidence that before the shooting, a victim made calls to a phone number associated with the shooter did not affect the verdict, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday.
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Location, location, location determines who has burden of proof

October 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Looking at the distance in the state statute between the description of the offense and a statutory exception, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the defendant had the burden of proof regarding a victim’s age.
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Instructions not to letter of the law, but no harm done

September 16, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s failure to give jury instructions that strictly adhered to the language contained in the Indiana Code and Indiana Jury Rule was not grounds for the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn a guilty verdict.
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Rear-ended motorist found 70 percent liable wins on appeal

July 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
A jury that found a Kokomo motorist 70 percent at fault when his vehicle sitting at an intersection was rear-ended misread the law, as did a judge who instructed jurors, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Indiana Supreme Court endorses new jury instructions for mentally ill defendants

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Although it affirmed the judgment of the post-conviction court in denying relief, the Indiana Supreme Court endorsed a change in jury instructions regarding mentally ill defendants.
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Judge’s opinion keeps colleague in suspense

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner had a fellow judge on the edge of his seat Thursday waiting to see how the opinion in a murder case would be decided. The court upheld a prisoner’s conviction of first-degree murder of the prisoner’s cellmate.
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Court clarifies decision on jury instructions

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing on a case in which the judges found the trial court erred in not giving a defendant’s tendered jury instruction, but that the error was harmless. The state contended that two cases dictated that there was no error by the court.
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COA: No error in denying reckless homicide instruction

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The evidence presented at trial did not support a defendant’s request to instruct the jury on reckless homicide as a lesser offense of murder, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Lake County murder conviction affirmed

April 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give an accused murderer’s proposed jury instruction regarding the presumption of innocence, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Prospective juror’s criticism of lawyer OK in verdict for hospital

March 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
When a prospective juror in a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital said he believed a lawyer was suing to make money, that attorney’s failure to ask the judge for an admonishment of the jury pool waived her later argument for a mistrial, the Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Man’s conviction of auto theft upheld

March 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Although a trial court’s refusal to give a defendant’s jury instruction was an error, it was harmless and his felony auto theft conviction should be affirmed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA: Court properly denied instruction on innocence

March 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in denying a jury instruction on the presumption of innocence submitted by a man on trial for murder and neglect of a dependent, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Transferred intent instruction not error in domestic violence trial

February 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County man’s conviction for domestic battery stands after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a jury instruction on the doctrine of transferred intent was not an abuse of discretion.
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Defendant received ineffective trial counsel assistance in murder case

February 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a Delaware County man’s post-conviction relief petition finding his trial attorney was ineffective in not ensuring the jury was properly instructed on the elements of murder, voluntary manslaughter and the state’s burden of proof regarding sudden heat.
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7th Circuit revises Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions

February 13, 2013
IL Staff
In light of the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Smith v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 714 (2013), the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Pattern Jury Instruction Committee has revised the withdrawal instructions.
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COA affirms murder conviction and sentence over self-defense claim

February 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man who was convicted and sentenced to 85 years in prison for killing a man who threatened his life and the lives of people inside his home lost his appeal Friday.
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Refusal to give jury instruction not harmless error

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s error in refusing to give a defendant’s tendered self-defense and resistance of unlawful force instructions during his trial was not harmless and requires the man’s conviction of Class D felony resisting law enforcement be overturned, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Justices order retrial due to deficient jury instruction

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court found that a final jury instruction in a woman’s trial for receiving stolen property did not correctly state the law, and it remanded for a new trial.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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