O'Conner v. State, No. 180S18

Docket NºNo. 180S18
Citation399 N.E.2d 364, 272 Ind. 460
Case DateJanuary 24, 1980
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 364

399 N.E.2d 364
272 Ind. 460
William O'CONNER, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 180S18.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Jan. 24, 1980.

Page 366

Stanley S. Brown, Public Defender, Lafayette, for appellant.

[272 Ind. 461] Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Kenneth R. Stamm, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

The appellant William O'Conner was charged with second degree murder and convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the cause for a new trial. In so doing, the Court of Appeals contravened ruling precedent as hereinafter set out. We therefore grant the State's petition to transfer.

O'Conner had been living with the mother of the three-year-old victim. On June 3, 1976, the mother left the child in the appellant's care. He found the victim lying unconscious near a swing set. The child was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she later died. The pathologist who performed the autopsy testified that the child had received more than one blow to the stomach. The cause of death was suffocation by aspiration of vomitus.

O'Conner claims the trial court erred in admitting the testimony of three witnesses who stated that the appellant had previously struck the child. O'Conner argues that this evidence is irrelevant because the striking could have been normal discipline. The State argues that the strikings were admissible because they show the appellant's intent or motive. The Court of Appeals held that O'Conner did not preserve this issue for appellate review. We agree.

During the trial the appellant's only objection to the admission of this evidence was lack of relevancy. This objection is too general to present any question for appellate review. Woods v. State (1974) 162 Ind.App. 316, 319 N.E.2d 688, citing Williams v. State (1907) 168 Ind. 87, 79 N.E. 1079; Beaty v. Donaldson (1964) 136 Ind.App. 269, 200 N.E.2d 233.

Although evidence of separate and distinct offenses is generally not admissible, such evidence is admissible to show intent, motive, purpose, identification or common scheme or plan. Alexander v. State (1976) Ind.App., 340 N.E.2d 366. In Martin v. State (1978) Ind., 372 N.E.2d 181, this Court held that the admission of evidence of alleged acts of child abuse to show premeditation and malice was proper. We believe the jury, as the trier of fact, [272 Ind. 462] could best determine if these strikings constituted normal discipline or abusive acts tending to show the defendant's intent or motive. Thus, the evidence was properly admitted.

Appellant claims the trial court erred in denying him the opportunity to depose two State's witnesses. On October 12, 1976, the trial court granted the appellant's Motion for Discovery, which included a continuing request for a list of all witnesses and set December 1, 1976, as a deadline for compliance. The State filed its list of possible witnesses on April 21, 1977. The list did not include the names of James Speck or James Morris. On September 12, 1977, the morning of the first day of trial, the State filed a supplemental list of witnesses which included James Speck at an incorrect address. On September 15, 1977, the fourth day of trial, the State filed an additional list of witnesses which included the names of both James Speck and James Morris. Both testified for the State on September 16, 1977. O'Conner requested the opportunity to depose both witnesses as each began their testimony. Although neither the appellant nor the State raised the question of whether appellant waived this error in the trial court by failing to move for a continuance, the Court of Appeals held that the appellant's oral motion to depose sufficiently preserved this issue for appellate review. We disagree.

When the State has violated the trial court's order for discovery we have recognized two remedies. Exclusion is the proper remedy when the State's action is so misleading or demonstrates such bad faith that the only way to avoid a denial of fair trial to the defendant is to exclude the evidence. Absent such circumstance, a continuance is the most appropriate remedy. Reid v. State (1978) Ind., 372 N.E.2d 1149.

Page 367

Appellant did not request either remedy but requested an opportunity to depose the two witnesses. The information gained through a deposition could have been elicited by direct and cross examination of the witnesses. As stated in the appellant's brief, he not only wanted to learn the content of the testimony but also wanted an opportunity to investigate it. This could only have been accomplished through a continuance.

[272 Ind. 463] The supplemental witnesses list naming James Speck was produced four days before he was called by the State to testify. The appellant had ample opportunity to contact and depose Speck during those four days, albeit the State listed an incorrect address.

On September 15, 1977, the State called Sherry Sweet to testify about her sworn statement previously given to Detective James Morris, a Lafayette police officer. In that statement, Mrs. Sweet swore that the defendant had said that he beat the child because she was crying and to "shut her up." The prosecutor and Mrs. Sweet later had a telephone conversation to confirm the truth of the statement. Mrs. Sweet testified that this portion of the conversation was untrue, and that she could not remember giving the statement because she was under the influence of barbituates. This was a significant deviation from her statement.

On the same day the State filed a supplemental list naming Detective Morris, who had been trained in narcotics. On the following day Detective Morris testified as to his observation, that Mrs. Sweet appeared normal and was not, in his opinion, under the influence of drugs.

Listing Detective Morris as a potential witness the day before he testified does not appear to be a blatant violation of the court's discovery order. On the contrary, his testimony was needed to support the evidence that Mrs. Sweet made a statement, although she did not remember doing so, and to give his opinion as to Mrs. Sweet's alleged drug intoxication. "In a criminal prosecution where the...

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53 practice notes
  • Prime Mortgage Usa, Inc. v. Nichols, No. 49A04-0610-CV-586.
    • United States
    • April 23, 2008
    ...Noble County v. Rogers, 745 N.E.2d 194, 198 (Ind.2001) (quoting O'Conner v. State, 178 Ind.App. 415, 382 N.E.2d 994, 998 (1978), vacated, 272 Ind. 460, 399 N.E.2d 364 (1980)); cf. Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 44, 111 S.Ct. 2123, 115 L.Ed.2d 27 (1991) (recognizing that district cour......
  • Norton v. State, No. 377S185
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 4, 1980
    ...See Gilliam v. State, (1978) Ind., 383 N.E.2d 297. See also Inman v. State, (1979) Ind., 393 N.E.2d 767; O'Conner v. State, (1980) Ind., 399 N.E.2d 364. Thus, as we explained above, appellant has waived this [273 Ind. 651] XI. Appellant argues the trial court erroneously permitted a police ......
  • People v. Buck, Docket Nos. 119249
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • December 8, 1992
    ...have addressed the issue with varying results. See People v. Thompson, 193 Cal.App.2d 620, 14 Cal.Rptr. 512 (1961),O'Conner v. State, 272 Ind. 460, 399 N.E.2d 364 (1980); State v. Heald, 292 A.2d 200 (Me.1972), and Commonwealth v. Steele, 362 Pa. 427, 66 A.2d 825 (1949), which upheld convic......
  • Noble County v. Rogers, No. 57S03-0003-CV-218.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 27, 2001
    ...N.E.2d 994, 998 (1978) ("In protecting this discovery process, the trial court has the inherent power to impose sanctions...."), aff'd, 272 Ind. 460, 399 N.E.2d 364 (1980). To protect the proper functioning of judicial proceedings, we also have imbedded this power in numerous court rules. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
53 cases
  • Prime Mortgage Usa, Inc. v. Nichols, No. 49A04-0610-CV-586.
    • United States
    • April 23, 2008
    ...Noble County v. Rogers, 745 N.E.2d 194, 198 (Ind.2001) (quoting O'Conner v. State, 178 Ind.App. 415, 382 N.E.2d 994, 998 (1978), vacated, 272 Ind. 460, 399 N.E.2d 364 (1980)); cf. Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 44, 111 S.Ct. 2123, 115 L.Ed.2d 27 (1991) (recognizing that district cour......
  • Norton v. State, No. 377S185
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 4, 1980
    ...See Gilliam v. State, (1978) Ind., 383 N.E.2d 297. See also Inman v. State, (1979) Ind., 393 N.E.2d 767; O'Conner v. State, (1980) Ind., 399 N.E.2d 364. Thus, as we explained above, appellant has waived this [273 Ind. 651] XI. Appellant argues the trial court erroneously permitted a police ......
  • People v. Buck, Docket Nos. 119249
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • December 8, 1992
    ...have addressed the issue with varying results. See People v. Thompson, 193 Cal.App.2d 620, 14 Cal.Rptr. 512 (1961),O'Conner v. State, 272 Ind. 460, 399 N.E.2d 364 (1980); State v. Heald, 292 A.2d 200 (Me.1972), and Commonwealth v. Steele, 362 Pa. 427, 66 A.2d 825 (1949), which upheld convic......
  • Noble County v. Rogers, No. 57S03-0003-CV-218.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 27, 2001
    ...N.E.2d 994, 998 (1978) ("In protecting this discovery process, the trial court has the inherent power to impose sanctions...."), aff'd, 272 Ind. 460, 399 N.E.2d 364 (1980). To protect the proper functioning of judicial proceedings, we also have imbedded this power in numerous court rules. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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