456 N.E.2d 720 (Ind. 1983), 1182S439, Groves v. State

Docket Nº:1182S439.
Citation:456 N.E.2d 720
Party Name:Mona Lisa GROVES, Appellant (Defendant Below), v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).
Case Date:December 13, 1983
Court:Supreme Court of Indiana

Page 720

456 N.E.2d 720 (Ind. 1983)

Mona Lisa GROVES, Appellant (Defendant Below),


STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).

No. 1182S439.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

December 13, 1983

David M. Shaw, Evansville, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Latriealle Wheat, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

PRENTICE, Justice.

Defendant (Appellant) was convicted, after a trial by jury, of forgery, Ind.Code Sec. 35-43-5-2 (Burns 1979), and of being an habitual offender, Ind.Code Sec. 35-50-2-8 (Burns Supp.1983), and was sentenced to thirty-five (35) years imprisonment. This direct appeal presents five issues for review, one of which compels us to reverse the judgment of the trial court and to order a new trial.

On February 28, 1981 Robin Rickard was socializing with several friends, including the Defendant, at a bar in Evansville, Indiana. Late in the evening, Ms. Rickard's billfold was discovered by a friend on the floor and was returned to her. Her purse had also been moved from where she had previously placed it on the floor next to her seat. Ms. Rickard later discovered that her driver's license and checkbook were missing from her billfold. Two days later, on March 2nd, a woman identifying herself as Robin Rickard, and possessing a driver's license issued in that name, cashed one of Ms. Rickard's checks at Wesselman's grocery store in Evansville. The woman who presented the check was not Robin Rickard, nor was the handwriting on the check or the signature thereon that of Robin Rickard. Other checks drawn upon the account of Robin Rickard had also been cashed, or an attempt had been made to cash them, at two other area stores on March 1st and 2nd, by a person who generally matched Defendant's appearance, and who possessed a driver's license issued in the name of Robin Rickard.

The clerk who had cashed the check at Wesselman's had also taken a regiscope photograph of the transaction. A regiscope is a camera with two lenses. If working properly, it takes two photographs simultaneously on one strip of film. The negative images, one of the check being negotiated and the other of the person tendering it, are

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recorded adjacent to each other, one above the other, on a strip of film upon which other such transactions are also recorded. If desired, positive prints of questioned transactions are made from the film strip.

The Defendant assigns error to the trial court's ruling admitting the regiscope photographs into evidence. She argues that a sufficient foundation had not been laid for its admission, in that there was no evidence that the photograph had been properly developed and printed, or that it had not been altered and that no witness had identified it as depicting the Defendant while she was in the act of cashing the forged check.

Photographs are usually admissible or not, depending upon whether a foundational requirement has been met evidencing that it fairly represents that which it purports to depict. They are not, under such circumstances, however, received as...

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