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COA traveling to North Manchester, Valparaiso for oral arguments

March 4, 2019

The Indiana Court of Appeals will travel north this week to hear oral arguments in two cases involving narcotics and murder.

An appellate panel consisting of judges Paul Mathias, Cale Bradford and Robert Altice will hear arguments in Johnson v. State, 18A-CR-01735, at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Manchester University in North Manchester.

Larry Johnson was charged with two counts of dealing in a narcotic drug and one count of maintaining a common nuisance following an encounter with a confidential police informant. During pre-trial proceedings, Johnson was granted his request to represent himself and reaffirmed several times during the proceedings that he wished to pro se.

However, on the day of trial, Johnson requested standby counsel and was denied. Evidence of Johnson’s prior bad acts were introduced during jury trial when the court found Johnson had opened the door for the line of inquiry, and he was ultimately found guilty all charges.

Johnson appeals his convictions, first arguing the trial court violated his constitutional right to counsel by allowing him to represent himself without determining whether he was knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waiving that right, and then denied his request for standby counsel. Johnson also contends the trial court erred in allowing the admission of evidence concerning his prior bad acts. 

Later in the week, judges Melissa May, Margret Robb and Elizabeth Tavitas will hear argument in Pelissier v. State, 18A-CR-00710 at 1 p.m. Thursday at Valparaiso High School, 2727 N. Campbell St.

In that case, Nicholas Pelissier appeals his convictions and 85-year sentence for murder and attempted murder. Specifically, Pelissier argues the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted two prior recorded statements of a witness who claimed at trial to not remember the events of the incident. He also contends the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted the lineup where the same witness allegedly identified him. Lastly, Pelissier argues his sentence is inappropriate based on the nature of the offense and his character. 

The state argues any error in the admission of evidence was harmless because the challenged evidence was cumulative of other evidence supporting Pelissier's convictions, and that his sentence is not inappropriate.

A list of the traveling oral arguments calendar is available here.

 

 

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