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Man’s challenges to admonition waived because he did not object at trial

April 15, 2015
A man convicted of battering and strangling his daughter’s boyfriend did not object to an admonition given to the jury over statements made during his testimony, so he waived appellate review of his arguments, the Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
 
Brent Cole went to the home of Joseph Dalton Phillips, who was dating Cole’s daughter, and began yelling at Phillips about the slow progress of renovation on the home. Cole was carrying a jug of wine with him when he yelled at and pinned Phillips against the wall. During the incident, Cole grabbed Phillips by the neck and punched him several times. 
 
A motion in limine granted by the trial court excluded any evidence of prior allegations of violence by Phillips or allegations reported to the Department of Child Services regarding Phillips. During Cole’s testimony, however, he said he was defending himself and was tired of Phillips putting his hands on Cole and his family. He also said there were a lot of other things he couldn’t talk about, after which the state immediately objected.
 
As a result of the Cole’s statements, the judge admonished the jury and explained self-defense and that it can be used to protect someone from imminent danger. 
 
Cole was convicted of Class A misdemeanors battery and strangulation. 
 
In Brent Cole v. State of Indiana53A04-1408-CR-356, Cole argued the admonition served as a jury instruction and should not have been given in the middle of the trial; evidence of Phillips’ prior acts was admissible, and the jury should have been allowed to consider them regarding his self-defense claim. He also contended the admonition was fundamental error after admitting he did not object to the admonition.
 
Judge Rudolph Pyle III, writing for the court, noted the judges didn’t need to address these arguments because Cole waived them for appellate review. He did not object to the admonition and, in fact, affirmatively stated he had “no objection” to it. Cole also invited any alleged fundamental error by agreeing to the admonition, the COA held. 
 
The state also presented sufficient evidence to rebut Cole’s self-defense claim, the judges ruled.
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