Fair v. State

Citation252 Ind. 494,250 N.E.2d 744
Decision Date17 September 1969
Docket NumberNo. 867S73,867S73
PartiesOrlando Frederick FAIR, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Cecil A. Taylor, Hall Cochrane, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sandak, Atty. Gen., Duejean C. Garrett, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

DeBRULER, Chief Justice.

This is an appeal from a conviction for armed robbery following a trial by court on an indictment in Division One of the Criminal Court of Marion County, Indiana.

The crime of robbery is defined by Burns Ind.Stat.Ann. § 10--4101, as follows:

'Whoever takes from the person of another any article of value by violence or by putting in fear, is guilty of robbery, and on conviction shall be imprisoned not less than ten (10) years nor more than twenty-five (25) years * * *.'

Appellant argues three grounds for reversal: (1) There was insufficient evidence to sustain a finding of guilty; (2) The trial court failed to rule on appellant's motion for directed verdict; (3) The prosecutor suppressed evidence favorable to the appellant.

(1) On a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence this Court does not weigh the evidence but looks to that evidence and the reasonable inferences therefrom most favorable to the State. The conviction will be affirmed if from that viewpoint there is some evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could infer the appellant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Carter v. State (1968), Ind., 234 N.E.2d 850; Butler v. State (1967), Ind., 229 N.E.2d 471; Tait v. State (1963), 244 Ind. 35, 188 N.E.2d 537. We now examine the facts most favorable to the State in accordance with our duty to review them.

On February 6, 1966, at 10:30 p.m. the appellant, armed with a black pistol and accompanied by another man carrying a sawed-off shotgun, entered a pool room in Indianapolis owned by the witness, Robert Sanders. Neither man was masked. The man with the shotgun stood by the door and announced that it was a holdup while the appellant ordered two men who were sitting in the room to lay down on the floor with their faces down. This they did. The appellant then told Robert Sanders to do likewise and he responded by squatting down behind a counter and showcase. The appellant held the pistol in Sanders' face and reached over and took a box containing about $447.00 out of the showcase. The two armed men then instructed the three men in the shop to remain on the floor for five minutes as they backed out the door and left. On April 7, 1966, Robert Sanders saw the appellant in the City-County Building in Indianapolis, reported the appellant's presence to the police and identified the appellant to police officer James Dabner who immediately arrested the appellant.

The appellant argues that the evidence identifying him as one of the men who committed the crime is insufficient as a matter of law. The witness, Mr. Sanders, testified as follows:

'Q. Who said get down?

A. This gentleman sitting there.

Q. Okay.

A. He said get down off the stand. They hee-hawed a little bit around, he said get down off the stand, I mean get down. He had a big black pistol in his hand.

Q. The man that said get down, was he the one with the pistol?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is that the man sitting right there?

A. That's the gentleman.

Q. Who said that means you too?

A. This gentleman here. * * *.'

The above quotes from the trial record show that the identification of the appellant was definite and supported by sufficient evidence.

Appellant further asks the Court to invoke the presumption of innocence rule and reverse this case because the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense is 'equal' in the sense that each side had only one witness to testify to the event that took place. For this Court to accede would be to usurp the functions of the trier of fact. This we cannot do. Manlove v. State (1968), Ind., 232 N.E.2d 874; Anderson v. State (1966), 247 Ind. 552, 217 N.E.2d 840; Fitzgerald v. State (1966), Ind., 219 N.E.2d 603.

(2) Appellant next contends that he has been denied a fair trial by the failure of the trial court to rule upon appellant's motion for discharge at the end of all the evidence. The motion and disputed ruling are as follows:

'At this time, Your Honor, moves that he be discharged. It is his word against the prosecuting witness, Mr. Sanders. Mr. Sanders said that the defendant had a gun and another guy had a shotgun but if there was any other man in there, he is not in the Courtroom. The defendant steadfastly denied to Sargeant Dabner here that he held the man up and said that he had never been in that pool hall and any doubt should be resolved in behalf of the defendant.'

To this motion the court replied:

'This case depends upon whether the Court believes the identification of Mr. Sanders or the denial of the defendant. Mr. Sanders, although his prior behavior apparently is not wholly admirable he has been arrested, he seemed fairly positive in his identification, quite honest in the fact that he could not identify another party, does not have a criminal record; and here is a man denying that he committed this when he has committed a similar crime, in fact four prior, four other felonies and I cannot accept his testimony in this case. The Court finds the defendant guilty as charged.'

The appellant accepted this ruling without objection and did not request clarification of the court's ruling. We deem the ruling to have been an effective denial of appellant's motion for discharge.

(3) The appellant's last argument is that the prosecution suppressed evidence which was favorable to the appellant in that the prosecution did not present the testimony of the two customers who were in the pool room at the time of the robbery.

Appellant raises an important issue here and we agree that if the prosecution in this case suppressed any evidence favorable to the appellant it would be a violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland (1963), 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215, stated:

'We now hold that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.

'The principle of Mooney v. Holohan (294 U.S. 103, 55 S.Ct. 340, 79 L.Ed. 791, 98 A.L.R. 406) is not punishment of society for misdeeds of a prosecutor but avoidance of an unfair trial to the accused. Society wins not only when the guilty are convicted but when criminal trials are fair; our system of the administration of justice suffers when any accused is treated unfairly. An inscription on the walls of the Department of Justice states the proposition candidly for the federal domain: 'The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts.' A prosecution that withholds evidence on demand of an accused which, if made available, would tend to exculpate him or reduce the penalty helps shape a trial that bears heavily on the defendant. That casts the prosecutor in the role of an architect of a proceeding that does not comport with standards of justice, even though, as in the present case, his action is not 'the result of guile,' to use the words of the Court of Appeals. 226 Md., at 427, 174 A.2d, at 169.'

In Pyle v. Kansas (1942), 317 U.S. 213, 63 S.Ct. 177, 87 L.Ed. 214, that same Court held:

'Petitioner's papers are inexpertly drawn, but they do set forth allegations that his imprisonment resulted from perjured testimony, knowingly used by the State authorities to obtain his...

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  • Fleenor v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • October 13, 1987
    ...of probative value from which a reasonable trier of fact could infer that appellant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Fair v. State (1969) Ind. , 250 N.E.2d 744." Smith v. State (1970), 254 Ind. 401, 260 N.E.2d Here is the evidence most favorable to the verdict. Within two hours prior t......
  • Richard v. State, 277S141
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • November 22, 1978
    ...as a matter of due process and the right to a fair trial. See also White v. State, (1975) 263 Ind. 302, 330 N.E.2d 84; Fair v. State, (1969) 252 Ind. 494, 250 N.E.2d 744. There are many types of fact situations in which this duty comes into question, however, arising out of differences in p......
  • Dillard v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • October 26, 1971
    ...or bad faith of the prosecution.' 373 U.S. at 87, 83 S.Ct. at 1196. This Court recognized the principle of Brady in Fair v. State (1969), 252 Ind. 494, 250 N.E.2d 744, however, it does not apply unless there is some reason to believe that the prosecution did suppress evidence. Appellant off......
  • Timmons v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • January 27, 1992
    ...probative value from which a reasonable trier of fact could infer that appellant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Fair v. State (1969), 252 Ind. 494, 250 N.E.2d 744. In the present case, Brenda Turnbloom provided detailed evidence supporting the allegations in the charging information.......
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