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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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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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