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YouTube video prejudiced jury

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The use of a YouTube video during closing arguments as a demonstrative aid by the state warrants a reversal of a robbery conviction because it may have prejudiced the jury, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In Terrence Miller v. State of Indiana, No. 09A02-0812-CR-1133, Terrence Miller appealed his conviction of Class B felony robbery and 18-year sentence to the Indiana Department of Correction. He claimed the trial court shouldn't have allowed the prosecutor to use a YouTube video created for school administrators to show how easily people could conceal weapons inside their clothing. The prosecutor noted before playing the video for the jury that it had nothing to do with the case.

Miller's defense was mistaken identity, and the fact whether the robber had a concealed weapon wasn't challenged at trial. The use of the video didn't meet the factors under Peterson v. State, 514 N.E.2d 265, 270 (Ind. 1987), the Court of Appeals determined.

Judges Melissa May and Paul Barnes concluded the use of the YouTube video was prejudicial to the jury and could have caused them to view Miller negatively. The majority reversed his conviction.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented, finding the error of using the video wasn't reversible. Because Miller's defense was mistaken identity, the YouTube video wasn't prejudicial to Miller.

"I cannot conclude that the video was so inflammatory that it would have altered the way in which the jury viewed Miller and the case as a whole, and given that the video was irrelevant to Miller's defense, I can only conclude that the trial court's decision to permit the State to show the video to the jury was harmless error," he wrote.

Based on Miller's other arguments for reversal, the chief judge found Miller wasn't entitled to relief on those grounds and would affirm the conviction.

Judge Barnes concurred with Judge May in a separate opinion, addressing Chief Judge Baker's stance, but he believed the video was "the proverbial evidentiary harpoon that skewed the ability of the jury to fairly and impartially decide the case."

"I am always reluctant to reverse jury verdicts, but I am never reluctant to attempt, as I view it, to ensure fairness. I do not think Miller got a fair shake here, and I vote with Judge May to reverse," he wrote.

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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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