jury instructions

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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Judges order new robbery trial

August 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Because a trial judge did not re-read all of the jury instructions when giving jurors an additional instruction after deliberations began, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial on the felony robbery charge.
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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. 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

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