Eaton v. State, No. 1279S355

Docket NºNo. 1279S355
Citation274 Ind. 73, 408 N.E.2d 1281
Case DateSeptember 04, 1980
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1281

408 N.E.2d 1281
274 Ind. 73
Charles E. EATON, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).
No. 1279S355.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Sept. 4, 1980.

[274 Ind. 74]

Page 1282

William F. Wurster, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., John K. Silk, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

HUNTER, Justice.

The defendant, Charles E. Eaton, was convicted in a bench trial of burglary, a class B felony, Ind.Code § 35-43-2-1 (Burns 1979 Repl.) and being an habitual offender, Ind.Code § 35-50-2-8 (Burns 1979 Repl.) (amended 1980). He was sentenced to ten years for the class B felony and thirty years on the habitual offender charge. He now raises three issues in this direct appeal:

1. Whether the trial court erred in denying a witness the right to invoke his fifth amendment privilege not to testify;

2. Whether there is sufficient evidence to support the trial court's finding of guilty; and

3. Whether the habitual criminal statute is unconstitutional under the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.

The evidence most favorable to the state reveals that Timothy Kirk returned home from work in the afternoon of July 26, 1978, to find his back door open. He was sure that it had been closed when he left that morning. Kirk went inside and discovered an individual whom he had known in school. His stereo had been moved to a couch near the doorway, and the individual was carrying his guitar. Kirk accused the man of "ripping him off" whereupon the individual became apologetic and said that he had more of Kirk's "stuff" in a car parked outside. Kirk saw the automobile about twenty feet from his house hidden from plain view. Defendant was sitting on the driver's side. In the back seat, Kirk found a portable television and a tape recorder that belonged to him. Defendant said he was sorry and helped Kirk carry his possessions back into the house. Defendant and his companion then drove away, and Kirk summoned the police.

[274 Ind. 75] I.

The state first called Timothy Kirk as a witness. When asked about the events of July 26, 1978, he pleaded the fifth amendment. He was very equivocal about his reasons for not wanting to testify and demonstrated considerable confusion as to his fifth amendment rights. The trial judge eventually met with Kirk and counsel for both sides in chambers. Upon resuming the trial, the court announced that it had explained Kirk's fifth amendment rights to him. The court then asked Kirk if he thought that criminal charges could be brought against him as a result of his testimony to which he responded in the negative. The court also asked him if his reluctance to testify was based instead on reasons

Page 1283

of a "personal nature" to which Kirk responded in the affirmative. The trial judge then ruled that he did not have the right to invoke the fifth amendment, and Kirk proceeded to give testimony implicating defendant in the crime. Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in questioning the witness as to his motives for utilizing the fifth amendment and in ruling that he could not invoke it.

We need not address the merits of defendant's claim. We were presented with an identical argument in Bryant v. State, (1971) 256 Ind. 587, 271 N.E.2d 127. There, we held:

"We would first observe that if the witness did in fact have a right to refuse to testify on the ground that it might incriminate her, this right was personal to her and is not available to the appellant either in the trial court or in this Court on appeal." Id. at 590, 271...

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30 practice notes
  • Lowery v. State, No. 32S00-9008-PD-542
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 4, 1994
    ...may not be applied so as to deny equal protection of the law. Smith v. State (1981), Ind., 422 N.E.2d 1179; Eaton v. State (1980), 274 Ind. 73, 408 N.E.2d 1281. Furthermore, in an individual case, the prosecutor and his entire staff may be disqualified to act and a special prosecutor appoin......
  • Short v. State, No. 381S86
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 27, 1982
    ...422 N.E.2d 1179; Griffin v. State, (1981) Ind., 415 N.E.2d 60; Ross v. State, (1980) Ind., 413 N.E.2d 252; Eaton v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1281; Hall, supra; Norris v. State, (1979) Ind., 394 N.E.2d Appellant claims the sentence imposed upon him is unconstitutional because it impose......
  • Wells v. State, No. 282S63
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 12, 1982
    ...be drawn therefrom which supports the finding of the jury. Raspberry v. State, (1981) Ind., 417 N.E.2d 913; Eaton v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1281; Jones v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 640, 377 N.E.2d In the case at bar we find the test as stated above is met. The key testimony in the Stat......
  • Funk v. State, No. 880S334
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 18, 1981
    ...against whom to apply the statute. This Court has already addressed the argument now made by appellant in Eaton v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1281. In that case, this Court adopted the language of the Supreme Court of Utah and "The appellant claims the statute is invalid in that it allo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Lowery v. State, No. 32S00-9008-PD-542
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 4, 1994
    ...may not be applied so as to deny equal protection of the law. Smith v. State (1981), Ind., 422 N.E.2d 1179; Eaton v. State (1980), 274 Ind. 73, 408 N.E.2d 1281. Furthermore, in an individual case, the prosecutor and his entire staff may be disqualified to act and a special prosecutor appoin......
  • Short v. State, No. 381S86
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 27, 1982
    ...422 N.E.2d 1179; Griffin v. State, (1981) Ind., 415 N.E.2d 60; Ross v. State, (1980) Ind., 413 N.E.2d 252; Eaton v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1281; Hall, supra; Norris v. State, (1979) Ind., 394 N.E.2d Appellant claims the sentence imposed upon him is unconstitutional because it impose......
  • Wells v. State, No. 282S63
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 12, 1982
    ...be drawn therefrom which supports the finding of the jury. Raspberry v. State, (1981) Ind., 417 N.E.2d 913; Eaton v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1281; Jones v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 640, 377 N.E.2d In the case at bar we find the test as stated above is met. The key testimony in the Stat......
  • Funk v. State, No. 880S334
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 18, 1981
    ...against whom to apply the statute. This Court has already addressed the argument now made by appellant in Eaton v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1281. In that case, this Court adopted the language of the Supreme Court of Utah and "The appellant claims the statute is invalid in that it allo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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