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Court finds double jeopardy in stalking case

February 24, 2016

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a man’s conviction of stalking as a Class C felony to Dearborn Superior Court because of double jeopardy violations. The court did uphold invasion of privacy charges and the revocation of his probation.

Billy Luke had a long history of public indecency, stalking and invasion of privacy charges over two years. He exposed himself to four girls who worked at the pharmacy across the street and violated a no-contact order by standing in his driveway and intimidating them. He was convicted in separate trials of three counts of Class D felony invasion of privacy; and of one count of stalking as a Class C felony, and five counts of criminal mischief as Class A misdemeanors. He was sentenced altogether to 10 years in the Department of Correction, as many of those sentences were to be served concurrently.

Luke contended that his convictions for invasion of privacy and stalking violated double jeopardy principles, and the COA agreed. It said there is reasonable probability the jury in one case used the same facts to reach its convictions as were used to convict Luke of the charges in the other case, and that constituted double jeopardy. Because the invasion of privacy charge was tried first, the stalking conviction was reversed.

The COA found the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of other bad acts at the trial. The evidence was not prejudicial.

The COA also determined there was sufficient evidence that Luke committed the invasion of privacy charges as Class D felonies. He stood outside and clearly stared at the women as they entered the pharmacy and refused to come inside when told he needed to stop.

The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury on the definition of harassment because Luke’s no-contact order specifically precluded harassment. In order for the jury to come to the decision, they needed the definition of harassment.

Finally, the COA affirmed the revocation of Luke’s probation, finding that the evidence showed that he did violate his probation through the acts he committed.

The case is Billy Luke v State of Indiana, 15A01-1409-CR-407.
 

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