Alexander v. State, 1182S457

Docket NºNo. 1182S457
Citation449 N.E.2d 1068
Case DateJune 17, 1983
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1068

449 N.E.2d 1068
Adolph Alex ALEXANDER, Jr., Appellant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 1182S457.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
June 17, 1983.

Page 1070

Walter E. Bravard, Jr., Indianapolis, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Richard Albert Alford, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

Appellant was charged with Robbery While Armed and Attempted Murder. A jury found him guilty of robbery. He was acquitted of the attempted murder charge. He was sentenced to a twenty (20) year term of imprisonment.

The facts are these. At around 8:30 A.M. on the morning of January 23, 1982, two masked men entered a grocery store on Churchman Avenue in Indianapolis. Ernest Brummett, the owner, and his son Joseph were the only persons in the store at the time. One man wore a red ski mask that concealed his facial features completely. This man was armed with a handgun. The other man wore a white nylon stocking mask through which his facial features, though somewhat distorted, could be discerned. The man in the red mask met Ernest Brummett at the entryway of a back room in the store where Brummett kept some cash in a file cabinet. He forced Brummett to surrender the cash in the file cabinet and the cash he had in his wallet.

Page 1071

In the meantime the man in the white nylon mask was forcing Joseph, who was in the front of the store, to open the cash register and give him the money. This man forced Joseph to give him the cash he had on his person. He also took about ten cartons of cigarettes from a shelf in the front of the store. Joseph testified he saw the handle of a knife protruding from the man's back pocket. Ernest Brummett also testified that when the man in the red mask asked the other man for a knife, the latter gave him one which he used to cut a telephone wire. Then the pair left the store. However, a few seconds later the man in the red mask returned, and upon finding Ernest Brummett had disobeyed his instructions to remain lying on the floor, he fired a shot at him striking him in the leg.

Immediately after the robbery police arrived. Ernest Brummett told them he recognized the man in the white nylon mask as an occasional customer in his store but that he didn't know his name. On March 20, 1982, an Indianapolis police detective showed Joseph and Ernest Brummett a photographic array. Ernest Brummett selected appellant's photograph from the array as a photograph of the man in the white nylon mask. Later he picked appellant out in a lineup. Joseph participated in these identification procedures (conducted separate and apart from his father) but at neither time was he able to pick appellant's photograph or appellant as a participant in the robbery. At the trial Ernest Brummett positively identified appellant as the man in the white nylon mask. However, Joseph was not able to do so.

Appellant claims the trial court erred in denying his court-appointed attorney's Motion to Withdraw from the case. The motion was made on August 5, 1982, with trial commencing four days later. In the motion, appellant's counsel alleged there was an "effective barrier" to the attorney-client relationship and that the motion was not made for purposes of delay.

It is well established the indigent defendant does not have an absolute right to counsel of his own choosing. Harris v. State, (1981) Ind., 427 N.E.2d 658; Duncan v. State, (1980) Ind., 412 N.E.2d 770. The failure to permit appointed counsel of an accused to withdraw is reviewable only for abuse of discretion. Id. Further, an untimely request made during or just before the start of the trial is properly denied on the grounds the defendant may not disrupt the sound administration of the criminal justice system by continually moving for change of counsel. Id. The bare allegation of a lack of communication between the accused and his attorney is not sufficient to show abuse of discretion in failure to deny such an untimely request and rather requires a showing of harm to the accused because of something the attorney did or did not do. Vacendak v. State, (1982) Ind., 431 N.E.2d 100.

Appellant makes no such showing in this case. We hold there was no abuse of discretion in denying appellant's Motion to Withdraw.

Appellant claims the trial court erred in permitting the State to ask certain questions of him when he took the witness stand in his own defense. These questions related to his employment history, and his answers indicated he had been unemployed for some time prior to the robbery. Appellant asserts these questions should not have been permitted as they revealed his poverty and thus impermissibly permitted the jury to draw inferences that he committed this crime against property on account of his poverty, citing Reynolds v. State, (1897) 147 Ind. 3, 46 N.E. 31.

We find appellant neither objected to any of these questions when they were asked at trial, nor did he raise any claim of error relating thereto in his Motion to Correct Error. The failure to object to the asking of these questions in either of these ways would alone constitute a waiver of the issue. See, e.g., White v. State, (1982) Ind., 431 N.E.2d 488 (objection to improper testimony must be made when the question is asked); Guardiola v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 404, 375 N.E.2d 1105 (failure to present claim of error in Motion to Correct

Page 1072

Error is waiver of the issue). Appellant claims the error is fundamental and thus no objection is required. See Moore v. State, (1982) Ind., 440 N.E.2d 1092. However, he cites no authority for the proposition admission of this kind of evidence is fundamental error. We do not find it fits our definition of fundamental error set out in Moore, supra, or in Nelson v. State, (1980) Ind., 409 N.E.2d 637. We hold the claim of error is waived.

Appellant claims the trial court erred in overruling his objections to testimony regarding Ernest Brummett's identification of him via the photographic identification procedure and the lineup mentioned earlier.

Testimony about a pretrial identification procedure is inadmissible if it is conducted in an impermissively suggestive...

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    • United States
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