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COA: Jury replay of 911 call within court’s discretion

April 26, 2016

A trial court was within its discretion to allow a jury to rehear a recording of a 911 call during deliberations, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming a man’s convictions of intimidation and theft.

The appeals panel also held the evidence was sufficient to affirm the Level 5 felony intimidation and Class A misdemeanor theft counts in Joshua H. Field v. State of Indiana, 11A04-1505-CR-296.

A Clay Circuit jury convicted Joshua Field but not before it required clarification of what was said during a 911 call made after Field had threatened his former girlfriend and another man with a machete. The jury heard the 911 recording twice during deliberations. Field argued this was outside the court’s discretion and put undue weight on a single piece of evidence.

The panel found trial rules and Indiana Code 34-36-1-6 permit a jury to be informed about any point of law arising in the case and does not require disagreement among jurors to review evidence. “(T)he jury simply needed clarification, which they were entitled to receive,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the panel. “The trial court did not abuse its discretion by replaying the recording a second time at the jury’s request during the deliberations.”

Barnes wrote the state presented sufficient evidence that Field made a threat that caused another man to be placed in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act and that he used a weapon while committing intimidation.

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