Douglas v. State, No. 1183S407

Docket NºNo. 1183S407
Citation481 N.E.2d 107
Case DateAugust 06, 1985
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 107

481 N.E.2d 107
Mark Steven DOUGLAS, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).
No. 1183S407.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Aug. 6, 1985.

Page 109

William F. Carroll, Carroll & Donaldson, Crown Point, for appellant.

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

DeBRULER, Justice.

This is a direct appeal from a conviction for attempted robbery, a class A felony, Ind.Code Sec. 35-42-5-1 (Burns 1985 Repl.) and Ind.Code Sec. 35-41-5-1 (Burns 1985 Repl.). This case was tried before a jury. Defendant-appellant was sentenced to a thirty-year term of imprisonment.

Appellant raises four issues on appeal: (1) whether there was evidence independent of his confession which established the corpus delicti; (2) whether appellant's waiver of rights was effected in accordance with the required procedural safeguards; (3) whether appellant's waiver and confession were made voluntarily and intelligently; (4) whether imposition of a thirty-year presumptive sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

These are the facts which tend to support the determination of guilt. On November 13, 1982, appellant and an accomplice went to Lowell Fitch's home and asked to see Chris Hych, the son of Fitch's cohabitating fiancee. When Fitch responded that Chris did not live there anymore, appellant pulled out a sawed-off shotgun. Even though Fitch tried to slam the door shut, appellant managed to fire two shots. Fitch received injuries to his right hand and left shoulder.

Donna Evans, the daughter of Fitch's fiancee, Janet Hych, was at her mother's home the night of the incident. While appellant and accomplice were talking to Fitch, Evans watched through the window and saw appellant clearly. Evans ran to the bedroom where Fitch kept his gun collection and grabbed a shotgun. She then ran out of the house after the boys and fired one shot. Evans later identified appellant in a photographic array and in court.

I.

Appellant argues that the trial court erred by admitting his confession prior to

Page 110

the State establishing the corpus delicti of attempted robbery. He maintains that the State did not present any evidence, independent of his confession, which established the element of intent to take property from Fitch.

To establish the corpus delicti for the purpose of admitting into evidence a confession, this Court has required independent evidence of (1) the occurrence of the specific kind of injury and (2) somebody's criminal act as the cause of the injury. Cambron v. State (1975), 262 Ind. 660, 322 N.E.2d 712. The quantum of corpus delicti evidence which is required to render a confession admissible has been established previously by this Court. The State does not have to present a prima facie case as to each element of the crime charged or prove each element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt before a confession is admissible. Fleener v. State (1980), 274 Ind. 473, 412 N.E.2d 778. Independent evidence from which an inference may be drawn that a crime was committed is sufficient to show corpus delicti. Jones v. State (1969), 253 Ind. 235, 252 N.E.2d 572. Moreover, the State is not required to prove the corpus delicti by independent evidence prior to the admission of a confession, provided the totality of independent evidence presented at trial establishes it. Evans v. State (1984), Ind., 460 N.E.2d 500.

The totality of independent evidence presented by the State must therefore establish that someone knowingly or intentionally took a substantial step toward taking property from Fitch, by using or threatening force, and this act resulted in serious bodily injury to Fitch. Ind.Code Sec. 35-42-5-1 and Ind.Code Sec. 35-41-5-1.

Prior to introducing appellant's confession, the State presented evidence which established the necessary quantum of proof for the elements of force, bodily injury, and identification of appellant as the perpetrator. Fitch testified that when he tried to shut his door, appellant discharged his sawed-off shotgun at Fitch. The resultant injuries sustained by Fitch to his right hand and left shoulder required hospitalization and therapy. Surgery was also necessary to implant a plastic joint in his index finger. The co-defendant's confession identified appellant as the boy who shot Fitch. In addition, Evans clearly saw appellant during the commission of the crime. She identified appellant both prior to trial from a police photographic array and in court.

The challenged element of intent was clearly established from the totality of independent evidence presented by the State. The co-defendant's confession, which was admitted prior to appellant's confession, recounted a conversation which appellant and co-defendant had when they were in Boys School. Appellant had asked co-defendant whether he knew anyone who had "a lot of guns and nice things in his house." Co-defendant responded by telling appellant about Fitch's home. After appellant's confession was admitted, the co-defendant testified that appellant's question regarding guns was made during a conversation about burglaries. The co-defendant maintains that his role was limited to showing appellant where Fitch resided. More importantly, Zak Hooper testified that he was with co-defendant on November 13, 1982, when co-defendant was walking with appellant en route to show appellant Fitch's house. Hooper testified that appellant was not only carrying a sawed-off shotgun, but expressly...

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27 practice notes
  • D.M. v. State , No. 49S02–1101–JV–11.
    • United States
    • June 22, 2011
    ...voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights,11 [949 N.E.2d 335] Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 494–95 (Ind.2001). Cf. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111–12 (Ind.1985) (procedural safeguards judged by same standard as voluntariness). In reviewing a court's denial of a motion to suppress a......
  • Johnson v. Trigg, No. 93-1935
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 3, 1994
    ...for under Indiana law at the time an effective waiver of a minor's Miranda rights required parental consultation. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111 (Ind.1985); Lewis v. State, 259 Ind. 431, 288 N.E.2d 138, 142 It appears that the state trial judge who ruled that Norman's confession was ......
  • Willoughby v. State, No. 49S00-8705-CR-461
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • April 10, 1990
    ...confession is admitted, provided the totality of independent evidence presented at trial establishes it. Douglas v. State (1985), Ind., 481 N.E.2d 107. Once properly admitted, a confession is direct evidence of guilt of the criminal activity admitted. Hudson, 268 Ind. at 313, 375 N.E.2d at ......
  • Smith v. Indiana Dept. of Correction, No. 46A03-0607-CV-327.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 10, 2007
    ...and needless imposition of pain and suffering . . . .'" Ellis v. State, 736 N.E.2d 731, 735 (Ind.2000) (quoting Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 112 (Ind. 1985)) (emphasis in Ellis). Here, the disciplinary and security measures of which Smith complains were taken as a direct result of his ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • D.M. v. State , No. 49S02–1101–JV–11.
    • United States
    • June 22, 2011
    ...voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights,11 [949 N.E.2d 335] Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 494–95 (Ind.2001). Cf. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111–12 (Ind.1985) (procedural safeguards judged by same standard as voluntariness). In reviewing a court's denial of a motion to suppress a......
  • Johnson v. Trigg, No. 93-1935
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 3, 1994
    ...for under Indiana law at the time an effective waiver of a minor's Miranda rights required parental consultation. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111 (Ind.1985); Lewis v. State, 259 Ind. 431, 288 N.E.2d 138, 142 It appears that the state trial judge who ruled that Norman's confession was ......
  • Willoughby v. State, No. 49S00-8705-CR-461
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • April 10, 1990
    ...confession is admitted, provided the totality of independent evidence presented at trial establishes it. Douglas v. State (1985), Ind., 481 N.E.2d 107. Once properly admitted, a confession is direct evidence of guilt of the criminal activity admitted. Hudson, 268 Ind. at 313, 375 N.E.2d at ......
  • Smith v. Indiana Dept. of Correction, No. 46A03-0607-CV-327.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 10, 2007
    ...and needless imposition of pain and suffering . . . .'" Ellis v. State, 736 N.E.2d 731, 735 (Ind.2000) (quoting Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 112 (Ind. 1985)) (emphasis in Ellis). Here, the disciplinary and security measures of which Smith complains were taken as a direct result of his ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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