Fields v. State

Decision Date26 September 1975
Docket NumberNo. 374S49,374S49
Citation333 N.E.2d 742,263 Ind. 550
CourtIndiana Supreme Court
PartiesRalph Leon FIELDS and Arthur Wesley Wilson, Jr., Appellants (Defendants below), v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).

Frederick T. Work, Work & Carmouche, Gary, for appellants.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Robert E. Dwyer, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

PRENTICE, Justice.

Appellants, Defendants Fields and Wilson, were convicted in a joint trial by jury of robbery and kidnapping and were sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than twenty-five years. Their appeal challenges the pre-indictment lineup identification as being impermissibly suggestive and the identification at trial as tainted by the suggestiveness of the lineup. We find that the lineup was not impermissibly suggestive under the cases that guide our determination. Neil v. Biggers (1972), 409 U.S. 188, 93 S.Ct. 375, 34 L.Ed.2d 401; Dillard v. State (1971), 257 Ind. 282, 274 N.E.2d 387; Stovall v. Denno (1967), 388 U.S. 293, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199. Consequently, we do not meet the issue of taint.

On July 24, 1972, William Stout was a service station attendant at the Parker Service Station in East Gary, Indiana. At about 10:30 p.m. on that date, two automobiles were driven into the service station. He serviced one, and it left. The driver of the second automobile instructed him to fill the car's gasoline tank, which he did. When he sought to collect for the gasoline, the driver was standing outside the automobile. A lone passenger in the vehicle exhibited a sawed off shotgun and told Stout to get into the car. Stout was stunned by this command and hesitated and stared at the driver for about thirty seconds. The driver then ordered him to get into the car, and he obeyed.

Stout was in the automobile, sitting on the left side of the rear seat immediately behind the driver for approximately forty-five minutes. The passenger was in the right front seat, facing Stout and pointing the shotgun at his midsection. Stout testified that he could see the passenger for about twenty-five of the forty-five minutes during which he was restrained, and that, although his face was not fully illuminated, he could see his face in the light of oncoming vehicles and in the light of two street lights under which they were stopped for an estimated two and one-quarter minutes. Stout could not see the driver's face from his position in the rear of the vehicle.

Ultimately, Stout was let out of the automobile and was threatened by the passenger, but he ran and made his way to a telephone from which he called the police. He was robbed of $122.00 by his abductors.

The description given to the police of the robbers does not appear in the record. Apparently it was very general. It did include that both men were between thirty and forty years of age, that one had braided hair, and that the vehicle used was either a 1965 or a 1966 model Thunderbird. It will be presumed that the men were described as being black.

Four days later, Stout saw a vehicle which he recognized as resembling the one used in the robbery. He followed it briefly and then reported it to the police. A few hours later he was asked by the police to identity an automobile and a gun which the East Gary police had in their custody. He identified the automobile by reason of damage to the left rear fender and the location of the shifting lever which was on the steering column. This location appeared strange to him, although it was later disclosed that such location was a standard feature of that model of automobile. He identified the gun by reason of tape applied to its butt.

Stout returned to the East Gary Police Station on July 31st from which place he was taken to the Gary Police Station where a lineup was to be conducted, and from six black males exhibited, he there identified the appellants as his abductors.

In support of their claim of suggestiveness, the appellants have alleged several irregularities and inconsistencies. There was conflicting testimony upon some of such allegations, the the existence of those that were either acknowledged or not disputed did not, in contest, render the identification impermissibly suggestive.

We disregard, as unproved, the allegations that Mr. Stout saw the defendants in the custody of the police immediately prior to the lineup, that Stout heard a reference to an exchange of clothing between the defendants and others exhibited in the lineup and that Stout viewed the appellants in their jail cells immediately following the lineup. Stout denied each of these allegations.

Militating in favor of a finding of impermissible suggestiveness, we have the following circumstances.

The defendants and the witnesses were in the same room briefly shortly prior to the lineup and a remark was made by...

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16 cases
  • Head v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • December 14, 1982
    ...to be accorded the in-court identification, not its admissibility. Cobb v. State, (1980) Ind., 412 N.E.2d 728; Fields v. State, (1975) 263 Ind. 550, 333 N.E.2d 742; Stephens v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 326, 295 N.E.2d 622. The in-court identification was properly admitted. Inasmuch as the pho......
  • Stacks v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • February 22, 1978
    ...age, approximate height and weight, and the presence of counsel. Thurman v. State (1970), 255 Ind. 102, 262 N.E.2d 635; Fields v. State (1975), Ind., 333 N.E.2d 742.3 Although Stacks adequately preserved the question of the denial of his motion to suppress, he failed to object to the in-cou......
  • Dewey v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • April 21, 1976
    ...an evaluation of the totality of the circumstances. Stovall v. Denno, (1967) 388 U.S. 293, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199; Fields v. State, (1975) Ind., 333 N.E.2d 742; Dillard v. State, (1971) 257 Ind. 282, 274 N.E.2d As to the propriety of the 'show-up,' we note that both of the defendant......
  • Cooper v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • February 9, 1977
    ...Indianapolis police was unnecessarily suggestive, Stovall v. Denno (1967), 388 U.S. 293, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199; Fields v. State (1975), Ind., 333 N.E.2d 742; Dillard v. State (1971), 257 Ind. 282, 274 N.E.2d 387, and resulted in the 'likelihood of irreparable mis-identification' wh......
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