Griffin v. State

Decision Date01 October 1999
Docket NumberNo. 18S02-9910-CR-505.,18S02-9910-CR-505.
Citation717 N.E.2d 73
PartiesEddie GRIFFIN, Defendant-Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Plaintiff-Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Geoffrey A. Rivers, Joseph P. Hunter, Muncie, Indiana, Attorneys for Appellant.

Jeffrey A. Modisett, Attorney General of Indiana, Preston W. Black, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana, Attorneys for Appellee.

ON PETITION TO TRANSFER

DICKSON, J.

The defendant-appellant, Eddie Griffin, was convicted of robbery, a class A felony,1 and conspiracy to commit robbery, a class A felony.2 The Court of Appeals affirmed. Griffin v. State, 692 N.E.2d 468 (Ind.Ct. App.), reh'g granted in part and denied in part, 694 N.E.2d 304 (Ind.Ct.App.1998). He seeks transfer on grounds that one or both of his convictions are barred by the principles of double jeopardy and collateral estoppel. In light of our decision today in Richardson v. State, 717 N.E.2d 32 (Ind. 1999), we grant transfer.

The defendant's convictions resulted from the second of two trials. In the first trial, he faced charges of robbery, murder, and conspiracy to commit robbery. The jury acquitted him of felony murder but was unable to reach a verdict on the robbery and conspiracy charges, and the trial court declared a mistrial as to these two charges. In the second trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent 30-year sentences on each of these convictions.

The defendant's convictions in his second trial stem from his alleged participation in a series of events with three companions, Joseph Hartman, Shane Craig, and Scott Ransom. According to evidence primarily consisting of the testimony of Craig,3 in early June of 1993, Hartman, a long-time friend of the defendant, was awaiting sentencing in an unrelated case. Hartman decided to leave town before the sentencing, but he needed money to give effect to his plan. Hartman met with the defendant, Craig, and Ransom and discussed alternative ways to obtain cash so that they could all leave town with Hartman. Finally, a plan was hatched: the four men would arrange to buy a large quantity of marijuana from David Turner, a drug dealer; but rather than buy the marijuana, they would attack Turner and take the drugs from him; and they would then sell the marijuana to provide cash in order to leave town. The defendant suggested that they rob Turner at a house owned by the defendant's step-father and mother and sometimes occupied by the defendant and his friends. On June 15, Hartman contacted Turner, indicating that he wanted to purchase ten pounds of marijuana, and arranged to meet Turner at a hotel. Hartman met Turner at the hotel and discussed the drug transaction. Turner and Hartman then went to the house where the defendant, Craig, and Ransom were lying in wait. When Hartman and Turner entered the residence, Craig struck Turner twice on the head with a wooden table leg. Turner's hands were taped behind his back, and the defendant struck Turner with a piece of metal. A plastic bag was placed over Turner's head; the air was squeezed out; and the bag was taped shut, suffocating him. The four men then waited for Turner to die.4 Subsequently, they discussed how to dispose of Turner's body, and Hartman, Craig, and Ransom dumped the body in a remote field. After selling some of the marijuana, the four men headed west to Fort Collins, Colorado. While in Colorado, the men received by wire more proceeds from the sale of the marijuana. The men also traveled to Texas and then to Florida where they were arrested. The four men were each charged with robbery, murder, and conspiracy to commit robbery.5

The defendant asserts (1) that his double jeopardy rights were violated when he was retried on the charges of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery after he was acquitted on the charge of felony murder, (2) that collateral estoppel barred the relitigation of issues in the second trial that were litigated to a valid, final judgment in the first trial, and (3) that his double jeopardy rights were violated when he was convicted of both robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in his second trial.

Prohibitions against double jeopardy protect against:

(1) reprosecution for an offense after a defendant has already been convicted of the same offense in a previous prosecution; (2) reprosecution of a defendant after an acquittal; (3) multiple punishments for the same offense in a single trial; (4) reprosecution of a defendant after the conviction has been reversed for insufficient evidence; (5) criminal reprosecution of a defendant in limited circumstances following a previous civil prosecution; (6) reprosecution of a defendant in limited circumstances after a mistrial has been declared.

Richardson, 717 N.E.2d at 37 n. 3 (citations omitted). This case presents a complex assortment of double jeopardy and related issues—subsequent prosecution after an acquittal, reprosecution after a mistrial, multiple punishments, and collateral estoppel—implicating the second, third, and sixth of these protections.

1. Double Jeopardy and Reprosecution After Acquittal on Felony Murder Charge

In his first trial, the defendant was tried for robbery, felony murder by robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery. Because the first trial resulted in an acquittal on the felony murder charge and mistrials on the robbery and conspiracy charges, the defendant contends that federal double jeopardy jurisprudence6 prohibited a second trial on the robbery and conspiracy charges.7

Federal double jeopardy jurisprudence bars a defendant from being prosecuted for an offense after being acquitted for the same offense. North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U.S. 711, 717, 89 S.Ct. 2072, 2076, 23 L.Ed.2d 656, 664-65 (1969) (reiterating that "the Fifth Amendment guarantee against double jeopardy ... protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal") (citing Green v. United States, 355 U.S. 184, 78 S.Ct. 221, 2 L.Ed.2d 199 (1957)); United States v. Ball, 163 U.S. 662, 671, 16 S.Ct. 1192, 1195, 41 L.Ed. 300, 303 (1896) ("The verdict of acquittal was final, and could not be reviewed, on error or otherwise, without putting [the defendant] twice in jeopardy, and thereby violating the Constitution."). The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a verdict of acquittal, however erroneous, is an absolute bar to a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. Green, 355 U.S. at 188, 78 S.Ct. at 223-24, 2 L.Ed.2d at 204 ("[I]t has long been settled under the Fifth Amendment that a verdict of acquittal is final, ending a defendant's jeopardy, and even when `not followed by any judgment, is a bar to a subsequent prosecution for the same offence.' ... Thus it is one of the elemental principles of our criminal law that the Government cannot secure a new trial by means of an appeal even though an acquittal may appear to be erroneous.") (quoting Ball, 163 U.S. at 671, 16 S.Ct. at 1195, 41 L.Ed. at 303) (citations omitted). Thus, any retrial or subsequent prosecution of the defendant on the felony murder charge would clearly violate the defendant's federal and state double jeopardy rights.

The State, however, did not retry or subsequently prosecute the defendant on the felony murder charge, but instead retried the defendant on the robbery and conspiracy charges, upon which the jury had been unable to reach a verdict. Thus, we must determine whether the robbery, of which the defendant was convicted in the second trial, constitutes the "same offense" as the felony murder charge, of which he was acquitted in the first trial.

The test for determining whether two or more offenses constitute the "same offense" under the federal Double Jeopardy Clause was outlined in Blockburger v. United States: "[W]here the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions, the test to be applied to determine whether there are two offenses or only one, is whether each provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not." Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304, 52 S.Ct. 180, 182, 76 L.Ed. 306, 309 (1932). Our review of alleged violations of the federal Double Jeopardy Clause is limited to the relevant statutes. Grinstead v. State, 684 N.E.2d 482, 486 (Ind.1997). See also Iannelli v. United States, 420 U.S. 770, 785 n. 17, 95 S.Ct. 1284, 1294 n. 17, 43 L.Ed.2d 616, 627 n. 17 (1975) (the Blockburger test "focuses on the statutory elements of the offense") (citations omitted).

A conviction for the crime of felony murder8 requires proof that a person was killed during the commission or attempted commission of one of several specified felonies, including robbery, but a conviction for the crime of robbery9 does not require proof of any facts in addition to those required to prove felony murder by the robbery. Thus, under the Blockburger test, the robbery is the same offense as the felony murder by robbery.

However, even though felony murder by robbery and robbery are the same offense under the federal Blockburger test, the defendant's retrial on the robbery charge is not precluded by federal double jeopardy principles. The Blockburger test does not always determine whether there is a double jeopardy violation because the "same offense" issue is only one aspect of double jeopardy jurisprudence.

Other aspects of federal double jeopardy jurisprudence are relevant to this case.10 Even though two or more charged offenses may constitute the "same offense" under the Blockburger test, a defendant may be tried in the same proceeding for multiple offenses, including greater and lesser included offenses, because the jeopardy is simultaneous. See Jeffers v. United States, 432 U.S. 137, 152 & n. 20, 97 S.Ct. 2207, 2217 & n. 20, 53 L.Ed.2d 168, 181 & n. 20 (1977) ("a defendant is normally entitled to have charges on a greater and lesser offense resolved in one proceeding") (plurality opinion); ...

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