Robinson v. State, No. 769S165

Docket NºNo. 769S165
Citation297 N.E.2d 409, 260 Ind. 517
Case DateJune 22, 1973
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 409

297 N.E.2d 409
260 Ind. 517
William ROBINSON, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 769S165.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
June 22, 1973.

Page 410

Jack Rogers of Rogers & Rogers, Franklin, Frank E. Spencer, Indianapolis, for appellant.

[260 Ind. 518] Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Robert F. Colker, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

PRENTICE, Justice.

Defendant (Appellant) was convicted in a trial by jury of murder in the first degree. 1 He was sentenced to life imprisonment. His appeal presents four alleged errors for our determination:

(1) The overruling of his plea in abatement predicated upon a lack of a judicial determination of probable cause for the issuance of the arrest warrant.

(2) The denial of his constitutional right to counsel at his preliminary hearing and the right of an effective preliminary hearing, with the right to call witnesses and to cross examine the state's witnesses, at the conclusion of which hearing he was bound over to the grand jury.

(3) The denial of his motion to discharge the jury panel for improper questions designed to prejudice and put to it by the prosecutor during the voir dire examination.

(4) The permitting of the jury, over his objection, to view the scene of the alleged crime.

(1 & 2) We agree with the defendant that his constitutional rights were violated by the issuance of the arrest warrant without a determination of probable cause by a neutral and detached magistrate and again, as charged by him, by holding a 'kangaroo' preliminary hearing at which his rights were totally disregarded.

'* * * before a federal constitutional error can be held harmless, the court must be able to declare a belief that it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.' Chapman v. California (1967), 386 U.S. 18, 87 S.Ct. 824, 17 L.Ed.2d 705. However, it is our opinion that these errors related only to the detention of the defendant prior to the return of the indictment by the grand jury. No evidence[260 Ind. 519] was obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the illegal arrest and detention, and we see nothing therein that could have prejudiced him upon the trial. Accordingly, such errors are here regarded as harmless within the Chapman rule.

(3) At the time of the trial of this case, neither the death penalty nor the exclusion from jury service, in capital cases, of persons holding conscientious objections precluding the assessment of the death penalty had yet been proscribed by

Page 411

the Supreme Court of the United States. The prospective jurors were being interrogated by the trial prosecutor, ostensibly to determine their feelings with regard to the death penalty. They had previously indicated their acceptance of the same as appropriate under certain circumstances and that they could vote for it if the circumstances warranted. Thereupon, the prosecutor stated that he wanted to determine the circumstances under which they would vote for the death penalty and asked the jurors two additional questions. The first assumed a murder by a contract killer following his parole from a life sentence for a previous murder and bore no similarity to the circumstances of this case. The second question was: 'If a father killed his twenty year old daughter because she resisted his sexual advances, could you vote for the death penalty then?' The facts assumed by this question, although hypothetically stated bore a striking resemblance to the facts of the case at hand. The victim was the daughter of the accused. She was twenty years old. These questions were propounded to five prospective jurors, two of whom ultimately served upon the jury. Moreover, they were propounded and repeated in the presence of the entire panel. No evidence was presented upon the trial that such was the motive of the defendant, although there was evidence of a long history of dissension between the defendant and his daughter; and various questions (some admitted and some not)...

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69 practice notes
  • Burris v. State, No. 981
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 29, 1984
    ...481; Rufer v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 258, 342 N.E.2d 856; Turczi v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 273, 301 N.E.2d 752; Robinson v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409. The "grave peril" standard does not require the Court to find that the misconduct determined the outcome of the trial. Whit......
  • Games v. State, No. 185
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 14, 1989
    ...481; Rufer v. State, (1976) Ind. , 342 N.E.2d 856; Turczi v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 273, 301 N.E.2d 752; Robinson v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409. The "grave peril" standard does not require the Court to find that the misconduct determined the outcome of the trial. White, supr......
  • Merry v. State, No. 2--774A184
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 7, 1975
    ...to be examined to eliminate bias, not to condition them to be receptive to the particular questioner's position. Robinson v. State (1973), 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409. Asking prospective jurors to review testimony of an adolescent witness with special caution was for the purpose of conditi......
  • Holmes v. State, No. 49S00-9002-DP-00104
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 7, 1996
    ...As a whole the jury summation was quite regular, uninterrupted before and after the trial prosecutor's outburst. See Robinson v. State, 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409 (1973). The outburst followed closely upon the conclusion of an effective presentation of a very complete body of mitigating e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
69 cases
  • Burris v. State, No. 981
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 29, 1984
    ...481; Rufer v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 258, 342 N.E.2d 856; Turczi v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 273, 301 N.E.2d 752; Robinson v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409. The "grave peril" standard does not require the Court to find that the misconduct determined the outcome of the trial. Whit......
  • Games v. State, No. 185
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 14, 1989
    ...481; Rufer v. State, (1976) Ind. , 342 N.E.2d 856; Turczi v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 273, 301 N.E.2d 752; Robinson v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409. The "grave peril" standard does not require the Court to find that the misconduct determined the outcome of the trial. White, supr......
  • Merry v. State, No. 2--774A184
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 7, 1975
    ...to be examined to eliminate bias, not to condition them to be receptive to the particular questioner's position. Robinson v. State (1973), 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409. Asking prospective jurors to review testimony of an adolescent witness with special caution was for the purpose of conditi......
  • Holmes v. State, No. 49S00-9002-DP-00104
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 7, 1996
    ...As a whole the jury summation was quite regular, uninterrupted before and after the trial prosecutor's outburst. See Robinson v. State, 260 Ind. 517, 297 N.E.2d 409 (1973). The outburst followed closely upon the conclusion of an effective presentation of a very complete body of mitigating e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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