ILNews

No error in admitting deposition testimony of witness

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found the trial court did not err in admitting the deposition testimony of a witness in a murder case who refused to testify at trial and whom the defendant had a chance to examine at the deposition.

Channing Gordon was in an apartment building when he saw Halston Thomas enter with a gun. Gordon ran into an apartment and heard multiple gunshots. Andre Drake died from his injuries. Gordon was called to testify but refused to do so. The trial court then granted the state’s request to read Gordon’s deposition testimony into evidence. Thomas was convicted of murder.

In Halston Thomas v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1109-CR-830, Thomas argued that this deprived him of his constitutional right to confront Gordon because he didn’t have an adequate opportunity to confront and cross-examine him. He claimed the deposition was discovery and not testimonial. The appellate judges cited Howard v. State, 853 N.E.2d 461 (Ind. 2006), in their decision to uphold the murder conviction.

Thomas claimed he didn’t have the ability to confront Gordon at his deposition because the scope of the defense counsel’s questioning of Gordon was strictly limited by Gordon’s counsel. His attorney clearly intended to not question Gordon in-depth at the time, but he did have the opportunity to do so, wrote Judge Ezra Friedlander.

The state established that Gordon was unavailable to testify at trial and that Thomas had an opportunity to cross-examine Gordon at the deposition, which was testimonial in nature, the judges ruled. Even if the judges were to assume that the requirements of Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68 (2004), weren’t met, any error in admitting the deposition was harmless.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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