Judges uphold convictions stemming from bank robbery

February 7, 2013

Terry Smith made five arguments to the Indiana Court of Appeals as to why his convictions of robbery and other charges related to his robbing of an Indianapolis bank should be thrown out, but the judges weren’t persuaded to reverse his convictions.

In February 2009, Smith stole a minivan and used it as his getaway car after he robbed a Chase Bank in Indianapolis. A police officer saw Smith flee the bank and chased him. While running away on foot, Smith shot at the officer and got away. A tip from an inmate who wished not to be identified said Smith was the one who committed the robbery and gave details about Smith that police had not released to the public.

A search warrant and DNA testing on a pillowcase found in the van used in the robbery showed Smith’s DNA was a “major contributor” to two samples on the pillowcase. His first trial resulted in not guilty findings by the jury on attempted murder and criminal confinement charges, but the jury was hung on the remaining counts. At his second trial, Smith was convicted of Class B felony robbery, Class D felony auto theft and Class D felony resisting law enforcement. He also was later found guilty of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and to be a habitual offender.

In Terry Smith v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1202-CR-88, Smith argued that the trial court abused its discretion in granting the state’s motion to continue the second trial in order to obtain certain evidence; in admitting evidence and testimony regarding shell casings collected in the area where Smith had fled from the police; in admitting into evidence items seized from Smith’s home pursuant to a search warrant; and in admitting DNA evidence obtained from a buccal swab taken from Smith. He also argued there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the finding he is a habitual offender.

The COA unanimously upheld his convictions, finding that the court did not abuse its discretion in granting the state’s motion to continue so that it could procure the testimony of a necessary witness. Granting the motion pushed the trial date outside of the allowed window under Criminal Rule 4, as Smith asked for a speedy trial for his second trial.

There was no abuse of discretion in admitting evidence of the shots fire and casings found or the evidence obtained during the execution of the search warrant. The judges rejected Smith’s argument that his DNA couldn’t be admitted because he swabbed his own cheek in violation of Indiana Code 10-13-6-12, but that only applies to samples collected for the state DNA database.

Finally, the state presented evidence sufficient for the trial court to conclude that Smith had been convicted of robbery in 2003, which supports his adjudication as a habitual offender.



Recent Articles by Jennifer Nelson