Grigsby v. State, 776S214

Citation371 N.E.2d 384, 267 Ind. 465
Case DateJanuary 18, 1978
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

William R. Wilson, Lawrenceburg, Bobby Jay Small, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theo. L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., David T. O'Malia, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

HUNTER, Justice.

The defendant, Ned Grigsby, Jr., was charged with felony-murder in the robbery and death of Edwin Cole and upon conviction was sentenced to life imprisonment. Two issues are presented for review:

1. Whether the course of conduct followed by two jurors resulted in juror misconduct and deprived the defendant of a fair trial; and

2. Whether there exists sufficient evidence that the victim was robbed to support a conviction of felony-murder.

The evidence from the record which is relevant to these two issues is as follows.

The victim, Edwin Cole, was seen with the defendant in a tavern one evening. The next morning Cole's body was found in a bus in the parking lot of a nearby filling station. It was shown that the victim usually carried at least $100 in cash in his wallet. Two witnesses who lived across the street from the filling station testified that about 1:00 a. m. the night of the murder they saw a red car pull into the station. They saw one of the occupants kick the other and drag him into the bus. Other witnesses testified that they saw the red car in the filling station that night and that it was the defendant's car. The victim's wallet contained only $3 in one compartment and $30 slid down in another compartment when his body was found. The defendant was arrested the morning after the crime and had $40 and the keys to the victim's car in his possession.

After the trial, the defendant submitted the affidavit of one of the jurors who stated that she had driven by the scene of the crime to determine how well the witnesses who lived across the street could see the parking lot. She stated that this view was the "turning point" in her decision as to the guilty verdict. The defendant also submitted the affidavit of his attorney who had talked with another juror who had visited the scene of the crime.


The defendant first contends that the visits to the scene of the crime by two jury members has resulted in unauthorized evidence being considered by the jury and has deprived him of his right to a fair trial. He has submitted two affidavits which show that two jury members made visits to the scene of the crime. One affidavit was that of the attorney for the defendant who talked to one member of the jury on the phone. She stated on the phone that she had traveled to Holten, Indiana during the time of the trial to "investigate matters of evidence which were brought up within the trial." However, since she later would not discuss this comment any further there is no proof that anything she saw was actually prejudicial to the defendant or that she actually viewed any unauthorized evidence.

The other affidavit was submitted by a juror who stated that she drove past the parking lot of the filling station to determine how well the two witnesses could view the scene of the crime. She further stated that this "was the turning point in my decision as to my verdict."

There is a well established rule in Indiana that a juror may not impeach his verdict. In Stinson v. State, (1974) 262 Ind. 189, 313 N.E.2d 699, this Court set out the reasons for strictly maintaining this rule.

"If this Court were to permit individual jurors to make affidavits or give testimony disclosing the manner of deliberation in the jury room and their version of the reasons for rendering a particular verdict, there would be no reasonable end to litigation. Jurors would be harassed by both sides of litigation and find themselves in a contest of affidavits and counter-affidavits and arguments and re-arguments as to why and how a certain verdict was reached. Such an unsettled state of affairs would be a disservice to the parties litigant and an unconscionable burden upon citizens who serve on juries."

262 Ind. 189, 198, 313 N.E.2d 699, 704.

The defendant argues that this rule does not apply in the instant case because there was unauthorized evidence involved. The Supreme Court of the United States has considered the conflict between the policy in not allowing a juror to impeach his verdict and the constitutional rights of confrontation and cross-examination when the unauthorized evidence involved the words of another person. The Court found that a bailiff's comments to a jury were reversible error and that "the rights of confrontation and cross-examination are among the fundamental requirements of a constitutionally fair trial." Parker v. Gladden, (1966) 385 U.S. 363, 87 S.Ct. 468, 17 L.Ed.2d 420. But the Court has refused to hold that jury contact with outside information is always a cause for overthrowing a verdict and has wisely held that each such case must "turn on its own special facts." Marshall v. United States, (1959) 360 U.S. 310, 312, 79 S.Ct. 1171, 1173, 3 L.Ed.2d 1250, 1252.

This Court has carefully considered these issues in Waye v. State, (1970) 255 Ind. 136, 263 N.E.2d 165. In that case all of the jurors viewed the scene of the alleged burglary en route to and from a restaurant during their deliberations. This Court considered the specific facts involved and held that the unauthorized view was not shown to have so...

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22 cases
  • Stephenson v. State, 87S00-0106-PD-285.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • April 26, 2007
    ...decision to overturn a verdict based on jury contact with outside information turns on the "special facts" of the case. Grigsby v. State, 267 Ind. 465, 468, 371 N.E.2d 384, 386 (1978) (citing Marshall v. United States, 360 U.S. 310, 312, 79 S.Ct. 1171, 3 L.Ed.2d 1250 (1959)). We look at the......
  • City of Indianapolis v. Ervin, 2-678A203
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 29, 1980
    ...found to be insufficient under Indiana Rules of Procedure, Trial Rule 11(C) 4 to properly preserve any error. Grigsby v. State (1978), 267 Ind. 465, 371 N.E.2d 384; Johnson v. State (1977), Ind.App., 362 N.E.2d 1185; Merry v. State (1975), 166 Ind.App. 199, 335 N.E.2d 249; and see Sparks v.......
  • Williams v. State, 1278S281
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 2, 1979
    ...her culpability. The law is clear that a conviction may be sustained on circumstantial evidence alone. Grigsby v. State, (1978) Ind., 371 N.E.2d 384. An accused's presence at the time and place of the commission of the crime is not required. Saret v. State, (1975) 166 Ind.App. 114, 333 N.E.......
  • Stauffer v. Lothamer, 3-1177A297
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 16, 1981
    ...who return it. Bryant v. State, (1979) Ind., 385 N.E.2d 415; Henry v. State, (1978) 269 Ind. 1, 379 N.E.2d 132; Grigsby v. State, (1978) 267 Ind. 465, 371 N.E.2d 384; Stinson v. State, (1974) 262 Ind. 189, 313 N.E.2d 699; Wilson v. State, (1970) 253 Ind. 585, 255 N.E.2d 817; Widup v. State,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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