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Court reverses convictions from robbery due to double jeopardy concerns

April 22, 2015

Three of a man’s eight convictions stemming from his robbery of acquaintances were reversed or reduced because  the convictions or elevated classes were based on the same elements of the crime, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

Bryson Tyrone Street was convicted of burglary, as a Class A felony; attempted robbery, as a Class A felony; attempted robbery, as a Class B felony; battery, as a Class C felony; carrying a handgun without a license, a Class C felony; criminal recklessness, as a Class D felony; neglect of a dependent, as a Class D felony; possession of marijuana, as a Class A misdemeanor; and being an habitual offender. Street broke into the home of acquaintances Michael Corn and his girlfriend, Bria Benjamin. Corn and Benjamin recognized Street as the perpetrator. Street sought money from Corn, and then shot him in the thigh after Corn said he did not have any. Street took marijuana off the kitchen counter and fled.

In Bryson Tyrone Street v. State of Indiana, 21A04-1410-CR-458, the Court of Appeals reversed the convictions of Class A felony attempted robbery, Class B felony attempted robbery and Class C felony battery based on double jeopardy concerns. It remanded for the trial court to vacate Street’s Class A felony attempted robbery conviction, reinstate his conviction under Count III for robbery, as a Class C felony, and reduce his conviction under Count IV to battery as a Class B misdemeanor; and resentence him accordingly.

The judges affirmed his remaining convictions and rejected Street’s argument that his convictions must be reversed because the trial court committed fundamental error when it permitted the jury to hear video recordings of two people, who both referenced Street’s prior incarceration. The judge admonished the jury to not consider that testimony when deliberating, and “If we must presume the jury followed the admonishment, then we cannot assume, as Street does, that the jury considered the erroneous statements covered by the admonishment,” Judge Edward Najam wrote.

The COA also ordered the lower court to impose Street’s habitual offender conviction as a sentence enhancement instead of an independent, 30-year sentence consecutive to the other sentences imposed.

 

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