Ford v. State, 30779

Citation248 Ind. 438, 229 N.E.2d 634
Case DateSeptember 22, 1967
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 634

229 N.E.2d 634
248 Ind. 438
Glenn FORD, Appellant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 30779.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Sept. 22, 1967.

[248 Ind. 439]

Page 635

Lewis Davis, Indianapolis, for appellant.

John J. Dillon, Atty. Gen., Raymond, I. Klagiss, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.


This case comes to us by way of an appeal from a judgment of conviction rendered by the court against the appellant in a trial to the court. Appellant and his co-defendant, Michael George Snow, were charged by affidavit with the crime of First Degree Burglary. Appellant's co-defendant was acquitted, and appellant was, on January 29, 1965, sentenced to the Indiana State Reformatory for a period of not less than ten (10) years nor more than twenty (20) years and costs.

[248 Ind. 440] Appellant was, prior to and during trial, represented by pauper counsel appointed by the court. Following appellant's conviction his trial counsel filed a Motion for New

Page 636

Trial, which, omitting formal parts and signature, reads as follows, to-wit:

'Comes now the Defendant in the above entitled cause and moves the Court for a new trial for the following reasons:

'1. That the decision of the Court is not sustained by sufficient evidence.

'2. That the decision of the Court is contrary to law.'

Appellant's Motion for New Trial was thereafter overruled. Following the overruling of appellant's motion appellant requested appointment of counsel for the purpose of taking an appeal. The court thereupon appointed another lawyer as pauper attorney for the purpose of perfecting an appeal for appellant.

Thereafter present counsel filed the following Assignment of Errors, which in pertinent part reads as follows:

'1. That the Court erred in overruling the Appellant's Motion for a New Trial.'

The grounds for this appeal may be narrowed to two issues:

1. Whether the conviction was sustained by sufficient evidence; and,

2. Whether appellant was deprived of constitutional rights by being coerced into waiving a trial by jury after he had stated that he wanted a jury trial and why.

We shall discuss only briefly issue number one. While there is conflict in the evidence, the record discloses appellant had four different versions relating to his possession of the stolen goods. It is the duty of the trier of the facts to determine the weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses, and unless there is shown a clear abuse of discretion, this court, on appeal, does not review those [248 Ind. 441] matters. In view of the decision we must reach in this case we need not here further consider issue number one.

Issue number two presents a far more serious question. Appellant contends that he was coerced by the trial court into waiving his constitutional right to trial by jury. At the beginning of the trial appellant asked the court for a change of venue, and after denial of the change of venue, asked for a jury trial. Although pauper counsel, appointed by the court to represent appellant, was in court at the time the requests were made, the appellant himself orally made the requests to the court. The record shows the following exchanges:

'THE COURT: This is CR--251, the State of Indiana versus Glenn Ford and Michael George Snow charged jointly with First Degree Burglary.

'MR. MAY: Judge, I have talked to Mr. Ford again this morning, and I'm still not certain in my own mind what he really wants to do. You tell the Judge what you want to do now, Ford.

'DEFENDANT FORD: Judge, I would like a change of venue because I don't feel people can get a fair trial in this county, and I feel this county is prejudiced against me because I have a past record, and I have been informed that I was going to get ten to twenty years if I don't take this county. It was a crime which I haven't committed. And, Your Honor, I'm going, I just believe, I would like to have a change of venue to another county, or another court, or something.

'THE COURT: All right, show the oral motion for change of venue made in person by the defendant with the assistance of counsel denied.

'MR. McMASTER: At this time, Your Honor, the defendant Snow informs me that he has the same request and wants a change of venue from the county or, if not that, a change of venue from the judge.

'THE COURT: Show the same ruling. Show them denied in each instance, the change of venue from the county and the change of venue from the judge. All right, are you ready, Phil?

Page 637

'MR. MELANGTON: Yes, Your Honor.

[248 Ind. 442] 'DEFENDANT FORD: Your Honor, I would like to have a jury trial.

'THE COURT: All right, but let me give you a little word of warning of something you may not know about. How old are you?

'DEFENDANT FORD: Twenty-two.

'THE COURT: Whenever a case is tried in this Court and the defendant is of your age, and depending upon his record of past offenses, if he is found guilty, there is a certain tendency to review his case on a presentence investigation and then decide what he should or shouldn't receive in the form of a sentence. However, when a case is tried to a jury and twelve people over in that box come in, if they find you guilty, I never disturb their verdict. What they say you are going to get is what I give you. Now, with that in mind, is a jury trial what you want? It is your constitutional right, I don't want to confuse you about that at all. If you say you want a jury trial, why, you will get one.

'DEFENDANT FORD: I will have trial here, then.

'THE COURT: What did you say?

'DEFENDANT FORD: I will have trial here.

'THE COURT: I can't hear you.

'DEFENDANT FORD: I will have trial here, sir.

'THE COURT: All right, be seated. Go...

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  • Decker v. State, 2-877-A-331
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 5 d1 Março d1 1979
    ...been recognized in the trial [179 Ind.App. 494] judge's unfair conduct towards the defendant, See, e. g., Ford v. State, supra, ((1967), 248 Ind. 438, 229 N.E.2d 634), Wilson v. State, supra, ((1943), 222 Ind. 63, 51 N.E.2d 848), substantiate our inference as to the character of error which......
  • State v. Dossett, 1-477A75
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 26 d3 Outubro d3 1977
    ...may be successful when based on a federal constitutional claim, Outlaw v. Lane (1964), 244 Ind. 650, 195 N.E.2d 459; Ford v. State (1967), 248 Ind. 438, 229 N.E.2d Dossett brings to our attention an Indiana case decided by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, wherein the petitioner had bee......
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    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 26 d3 Dezembro d3 1973
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    • 22 d2 Março d2 1983 objection was made at trial. See Cunningham v. State (1982), Ind.App., 433 N.E.2d 405 (trans. denied ). Cf. Ford v. State (1967), 248 Ind. 438, 229 N.E.2d 634 (When trial court induced defendant to waive right to jury trial, error need not be raised in motion for new trial in order to be......
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