ILNews

Man knowingly waived right to jury trial on all charges

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that he only agreed to a bench trial on one of the seven charges he faced following a violent altercation with his girlfriend.

Michael Johnson punched, kicked, and hit his girlfriend, I.B., after she came home in the early morning hours after being gone all night. He accused her of cheating on him, according to the court record. After beating her, he told her to “turn around” because he wanted to have sex. I.B. said she complied because she was afraid and didn’t want to get beaten again.

Johnson was charged with and convicted of Class B felonies criminal confinement and rape; Class C felony battery; Class D felonies intimidation and strangulation; and Class A misdemeanor interfering with the reporting of a crime.

He argued that he did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial on all of his charges, the state abused its discretion in denying Johnson the right to cross-examine I.B. about past sexual conduct, and that the state didn’t prove he committed rape and intimidation.

Johnson’s written waiver only listed one count of Class B felony criminal confinement, which was the lead, most serious charge.

“It seems unlikely that Johnson would waive his right to a jury trial on his most serious charge and not on the rest,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote in Michael Johnson v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1307-CR-562.  

“Second, all of Johnson’s charges were a part of the same cause, and provision number 4 of the waiver states, ‘I hereby give up my constitutional rights to a trial by jury and ask that the case be tried by the Court without a jury.’ Under the plain language of this provision, Johnson agreed to waive his right to a jury trial of the entire case, not merely Class B felony criminal confinement. Third, Johnson’s attorney signed the waiver, which indicates that Johnson acted on the advice and information of his legal counsel when filing his waiver.”

Johnson also failed to object to being tried on all of his charges during his bench trial.

The judges also ruled Johnson was precluded from introducing evidence of I.B.’s prior sexual conduct at trial because he did not follow Evidence Rule 412’s procedural requirements. As such, he waived this issue on appeal. The judges also found the state provided sufficient evidence to support his convictions.

Judge Cale Bradford concurred in result in a separate opinion, noting that he would find Johnson waived any argument concerning I.B.’s testimony because he made no offer of proof as to what her testimony would have been.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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?

ADVERTISEMENT