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State not trying to circumvent adverse ruling in refiling charges

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s felony cocaine dealing conviction, finding the state, when originally dismissing charges and then later refiling them, was not trying to avoid an adverse ruling that barred testimony of a confidential informant.

Dwight Cobbs was convicted of Class B felony dealing in cocaine following a controlled drug buy with a confidential informant in an Indianapolis Kroger supermarket. The state originally filed charges in court, at which the judge granted Cobbs’ motion to exclude the confidential informant’s testimony. The state later moved to dismiss the charges and refile because the police officer who stopped Cobbs after the controlled buy was out of state.

The refiled charges came before a different trial judge, who ruled that the informant’s testimony can be included at trial as well as audio/video recordings of the controlled buy.

Cobbs argued in Dwight L. Cobbs v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1207-CR-380, that Davenport v. State, 689 N.E.2d 1226 (Ind. 1997), and Johnson v. State, 740 N.E.2d 118 (Ind. 2001), should control and lead to excluding the informant’s testimony because the state was trying to avoid an adverse ruling.

But the appellate court deemed Cobbs’ case similar to Hollowell v. State, 773 N.E.2d 326 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), in which the COA found the state wasn’t trying to circumvent an adverse ruling in dismissing and refiling charges because of a missing key witness.

“The record indicates that, despite the original trial court’s ruling regarding the testimony of the confidential informant, the State was proceeding with Cobbs’s trial. The State ultimately dismissed the charges because it was missing an essential witness on the day of trial and because the trial court apparently had a strict continuance policy,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

“We acknowledge that, after the State refiled the charges, it did seek a reconsideration of the exclusion of the confidential informant’s testimony, and the new trial court allowed that testimony. However, even if the trial court improperly reconsidered the exclusion of the confidential informant’s testimony, we conclude that any error was harmless,” Barnes continued, because other evidence at trial supports the conviction.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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