Holt v. State, No. 1175S317

Docket NºNo. 1175S317
Citation365 N.E.2d 1209, 266 Ind. 586
Case DateAugust 01, 1977
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1209

365 N.E.2d 1209
266 Ind. 586
Aaron HOLT, Jr., Appellant (Defendant Below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).
No. 1175S317.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Aug. 1, 1977.

Page 1210

[266 Ind. 588] Robert W. Hammerle, Indianapolis, for appellant (defendant below).

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Susan J. Davis, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee (plaintiff below).

HUNTER, Justice.

Aaron Holt, the defendant, was charged by grand jury indictment with first degree murder. A jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment. A timely motion to correct errors was filed and overruled, from which this appeal. The defendant raises the following issues in his appeal.

1.) Whether the method of selecting and using the regular panel of jurors was not according to law;

2.) Whether the trial court erroneously instructed the jury on the standard of reasonable doubt;

3.) Whether the trial court erroneously instructed the jury on the theory of "transferred intent"; and

[266 Ind. 589] 4.) Whether there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict.

I.

During the voir dire of jurors, the defendant challenged the entire jury array on the grounds that the regular panel was to be composed of no more than 12 members and that the method used by the trial court in selecting the regular panel was contrary

Page 1211

to law. He conditionally accepted the jury, noting that his objection was a continuing one. The defendant also challenged all jurors for cause who had served on a jury within the previous twelve months.

The method used by the trial court in selecting its regular panel was as follows. It ordered the clerk to call 720 persons for the purpose of impanelling a regular panel. Those 720 persons were summoned by subpoena. Each subpoena was accompanied by a questionnaire. Any person who sought to be excused because of economic hardship or other good excuse was not required to serve. Through this process, the 720 prospective members were diminished to 180. The 180 members of the regular panel were then divided into 6 groups of 30 jurors each. One of the six groups was called in everyday, on a rotating basis, in the order in which their names were drawn from the jury box. In this way, each group served approximately one day per week for the three-month term of the regular panel. Any juror who was a member of the regular panel was excused upon request after having served on two juries.

For this trial, two sections of the regular panel were called, since this was a murder trial. The total number of jurors called were 45, none of whom were talesmen, or part of a special venire. The jury, as finally accepted, was composed of nine jurors who had served on a previous jury within the past twelve months as part of the regular panel.

The defendant first contends that it was error for the trial judge to overrule his challenge for cause as to those jurors who had served on jury within the last twelve months.

[266 Ind. 590] "Challenges for cause. The following shall be good causes for challenge to any person called as a juror in any criminal trial:

Fifteenth. If he is not a member of the regular panel, that he has served on a jury within twelve (12) months immediately preceding the trial."

Ind. Code § 35-1-30-4 (Burns 1975). The defendant did not exhaust his peremptory challenges and has thus failed to show any prejudice, Kocher v. State, (1920) 189 Ind. 578, 127 N.E. 3. There was, however, no error. A prospective juror may be challenged for previous jury service within one year only if he is not a member of the regular panel. These nine jurors were admittedly members of the regular panel. Brown v. State, (1977) Ind., 360 N.E.2d 830.

The defendant also contends that a regular panel may consist of no more than twelve members, citing Benadum v. State, (1914) 182 Ind. 510, 107 N.E. 8. In that case, regular panels were limited to twelve by statute. No present statute so limits the regular panel.

"At such drawing the names of competent persons shall be first drawn for each court having criminal jurisdiction in the number specified by the court in such order."

Ind. Code § 33-15-22-1 (Burns 1975) (Emphasis added.) The use of a regular panel exceeding twelve members has previously been approved by this Court. Brown, supra.

Finally, the defendant contends that the trial court's selection process creates a "professional jury" of only those who are eager, willing and financially able to serve.

Due process requires a fair and impartial jury. The right to an impartial jury precludes systematic and intentional exclusion of any particular class of persons, but does not require that any particular class be represented. Tewell v. State, (1976) Ind., 339 N.E.2d 792. Although a jury must be selected from a fair cross-section of the community, jurors need not be mathematically proportioned[266 Ind. 591] to the character of the community. Fay v. N. Y., (1947) 332 U. S. 261, 67 S.Ct. 1613, 91 L.Ed. 2043. The burden of demonstrating prejudicial discrimination is on the defendant. In addition, trial courts have discretionary authority to excuse prospective jurors. Brown v. State, supra ; Tewell v. State, supra. Certainly this discretion must not be exercised illogically or arbitrarily, but a

Page 1212

reasonable exercise of discretion by the trial court will not be interfered with on appeal.

Here, the trial court, without exception, excused those prospective jurors who sought to be relieved of service because of hardship. He stated that this included economic hardship, illness in the family or some infirmity which would not permit the individual to serve. The defendant would have us presume that this procedure for excusing jurors excluded a certain class of persons financially unable to serve, and that those who did serve were overly willing. This is not supported by the record. There is no showing of the relative economic status of the various prospective jurors, neither does the record show that the defendant is of the same class as any allegedly excluded group. The trial court's method of excusing jurors was not illogical. He sought to avoid hardship to any prospective juror. The 43 questionnaires placed of record reveal that the trial court did not arbitrarily excuse prospective jurors. Not all requests to be excused were granted. The jurors were engaged in various occupations, such as, for example, telephone operator, mechanical engineer, retired persons and housewives. There was good reason for the trial judge to relieve from jury duty those suffering under a hardship. The class of persons excluded, those suffering under a hardship and seeking excuse, does not, on the other hand, have a characteristic which would tend to prejudice the defendant by its absence. Neither can we say that the trial court's method of selection produced a jury which was overly willing to serve. These jurors did not request to serve on a jury, nor has the defendant shown that any juror had any specific prejudicial reason for accepting the summons to serve.

There was no error in the trial court's overruling of the defendant's challenge to the jury array.

[266 Ind. 592] II.

The defendant objected to the court's instruction on reasonable doubt and tendered his own instruction, which was refused. The portion of...

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30 practice notes
  • State v. Julius, No. 19836
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • 3 Julio 1991
    ...Ill.App.3d 581, 121 Ill.Dec. 376, 525 N.E.2d 182, appeal denied, 122 Ill.2d 587, 125 Ill.Dec. 229, 530 N.E.2d 257 (1988); Holt v. State, 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209 (1977); Gladden v. State, 273 Md. 383, 330 A.2d 176 (1974); State v. Cole, 121 R.I. 39, 394 A.2d 1344 (1978); Riddick v. Com......
  • State v. Hall, No. 16148
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 22 Marzo 1985
    ...same intent is transferred to the killing of the third party. State v. Gardner, 57 Del. (7 Storey) 588, 203 A.2d 77 (1964); Holt v. State, 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209 (1977); Gladden v. State, 273 Md. 383, 330 A.2d 176 (1974); State v. Rogers, 273 N.C. 330, 159 S.E.2d 900 (1968); State v.......
  • Wooten v. State, No. 1-1180A322
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 31 Marzo 1981
    ...binding on the court. Johnston v. State, (1958) 239 Ind. 77, 155 N.E.2d 129. Block v. State, (1885) 100 Ind. 357. In Holt v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209, our Supreme Court summarized the "Due process requires a fair and impartial jury. The right to an impartial jury pre......
  • Bond v. State, No. 577S309
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 25 Abril 1980
    ...cited therein. Premeditation is defined as to the holding in the mind and reflection [273 Ind. 244] upon a thought. Holt v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209. The existence of the deliberation rather than its duration, is the requisite element of premeditation. McCurdy v. State, (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • State v. Julius, No. 19836
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • 3 Julio 1991
    ...Ill.App.3d 581, 121 Ill.Dec. 376, 525 N.E.2d 182, appeal denied, 122 Ill.2d 587, 125 Ill.Dec. 229, 530 N.E.2d 257 (1988); Holt v. State, 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209 (1977); Gladden v. State, 273 Md. 383, 330 A.2d 176 (1974); State v. Cole, 121 R.I. 39, 394 A.2d 1344 (1978); Riddick v. Com......
  • State v. Hall, No. 16148
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 22 Marzo 1985
    ...same intent is transferred to the killing of the third party. State v. Gardner, 57 Del. (7 Storey) 588, 203 A.2d 77 (1964); Holt v. State, 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209 (1977); Gladden v. State, 273 Md. 383, 330 A.2d 176 (1974); State v. Rogers, 273 N.C. 330, 159 S.E.2d 900 (1968); State v.......
  • Wooten v. State, No. 1-1180A322
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 31 Marzo 1981
    ...binding on the court. Johnston v. State, (1958) 239 Ind. 77, 155 N.E.2d 129. Block v. State, (1885) 100 Ind. 357. In Holt v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209, our Supreme Court summarized the "Due process requires a fair and impartial jury. The right to an impartial jury pre......
  • Bond v. State, No. 577S309
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 25 Abril 1980
    ...cited therein. Premeditation is defined as to the holding in the mind and reflection [273 Ind. 244] upon a thought. Holt v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 586, 365 N.E.2d 1209. The existence of the deliberation rather than its duration, is the requisite element of premeditation. McCurdy v. State, (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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