Edwards v. State, 183S32

Docket NºNo. 183S32
Citation466 N.E.2d 452
Case DateAugust 09, 1984
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 452

466 N.E.2d 452
Ovell EDWARDS, Jr., Appellant (Defendant Below),
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).
No. 183S32.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Aug. 9, 1984.

Page 453

A. Martin Katz, Katz, Brenman & Angel, Merrillville, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Louis E. Ransdell, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

PRENTICE, Justice.

Following a trial by jury, Defendant (Appellant) was convicted of Robbery, a class B felony, Ind.Code Sec. 35-42-5-1 (Burns 1979) and sentenced to twelve (12) years imprisonment. His direct appeal presents three (3) issues for review:

(1) Whether the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial predicated upon a police officer's reference to "mug shots";

(2) Whether the trial court erred in admitting into evidence, over Defendant's objection, testimony by the complaining witness of statements made by Defendant at the time of the offense;

(3) Whether the trial court erred when it denied Defendant's motion for mistrial predicated upon a comment made by the Prosecutor during closing argument that the Defendant had previously beaten two "murder raps."

The record disclosed that on July 9, 1982, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Edward Skinner was walking home from his girlfriend's apartment carrying a radio which he had purchased for $150.00 when he saw the Defendant, a long-time acquaintance. Skinner crossed the street to talk to Defendant, who subsequently asked Skinner if he could look at the radio and inquired about its cost. Thereafter, Defendant drew a pistol and told Skinner, "either give up the radio or get popped." Skinner gave Defendant the radio, walked away, and reported the robbery to police, who subsequently arrested Defendant.

The Defendant testified that Skinner approached him and attempted to purchase drugs from him on credit. When he would not sell Skinner the drugs on that basis, Skinner gave him the radio, as collateral, in exchange for the drugs. Defendant was to hold the radio for two days so that Skinner could redeem it. The two drank some wine and parted company.


During the testimony of Police Officer Thomas Papadakis, the following exchange between the Prosecutor and the witness occurred:

"Q. After taking Mr. Skinner's formal statement, Detective what, if anything else, did you do with regards to this particular incident?

A. I had showed him some photographs of Gary Police mug shots just to see--"

At this point Defense counsel objected and moved for a mistrial, which motion the trial court denied. The jury was then admonished to disregard the above question and answer.

Defendant assigns as reversible error the trial court's denial of the mistrial motion, arguing that the reference to "mug shots"

Page 454

was so prejudicial that it could not be corrected by the court's admonishment. He relies primarily upon Miller v. State, (1982) Ind., 436 N.E.2d 1113 and Fox v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 399 N.E.2d 827; however, both cases are readily distinguishable from the one at bar. In Miller, this Court reversed a rape conviction because of "two evidentiary harpoons which were deliberately thrust and, in the context of the case had a very high potential for influencing the verdict[.]" Miller, 436 N.E.2d at 1113. One of those evidentiary harpoons occurred when the State introduced a photograph of the appellant which was obviously a police photograph and which the prosecutrix identified as a photograph she had selected from an array she had been shown by the police. In the case at bar, however, no photograph of Defendant was introduced, and, in fact, the police officer said nothing which would indicate to the jury that Defendant's photograph was in police files. It is common knowledge that routine police investigation involves the display of police photographs which are on file.

In Fox, a police officer stated that the victim of the crime had looked through the police "mug files" and that he, the police officer, could identify the photograph chosen by the victim from the "mug file" which had been brought into the courtroom and placed in front of the...

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10 cases
  • Carter v. State, 1184S457
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 25 Agosto 1987
    ...an extreme action which is warranted only "when no other action can be expected to remedy the situation." Edwards v. State (1984), Ind., 466 N.E.2d 452, 455 (citations Carter contends the first mistrial should have been declared during the testimony of State's witness Carolyn Shelby, whose ......
  • Brooks v. State, 20S00-8801-CR-25
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 25 Septiembre 1990
    ...peril by the State. We find, however, that the facts here are more analogous to the situation presented in Edwards v. State (1984), Ind., 466 N.E.2d 452, where this Court distinguished Fox and found that a reference to "mugshots" by a State's witness on direct examination did not place the ......
  • Riley v. State, 684S215
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 16 Abril 1987
    ...contemporaneous with an incident in question. See, Blankenship v. State (1984), Ind., 462 N.E.2d 1311; Edwards v. State (1984), Ind., 466 N.E.2d 452. In this latter usage, res gestae does not apply to hearsay assertions which nevertheless are admissible as excited utterances. Rather, it ref......
  • Hill v. State, 184S33
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 3 Octubre 1986
    ...of grave peril to which he should not have been subjected. Asbell v. State (1984), Ind., 468 N.E.2d 845; Edwards v. State (1984), Ind., 466 N.E.2d 452. If the jury is admonished by the trial judge to disregard the event upon which the motion is predicated or if other curative measures are t......
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