Shackelford v. State, 1182S432

Docket NºNo. 1182S432
Citation486 N.E.2d 1014
Case DateJanuary 02, 1986
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1014

486 N.E.2d 1014
Paul SHACKELFORD, Appellant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 1182S432.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Jan. 2, 1986.

Page 1015

Susan K. Carpenter, Public Defender of Ind., Eric L. Mayer, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Ind., Amy Schaeffer Good, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

SHEPARD, Justice.

Paul Shackelford was convicted by a jury of murder and received a life sentence. This Court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal in Shackelford v. State (1976), 264 Ind. 698, 349 N.E.2d 150. He now appeals denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.

Appellant raises three issues in this appeal:

(1) Whether the presentation of multiple defenses constitutes ineffective assistance of trial counsel;

(2) Whether the post-conviction court erroneously applied a harmless error standard in reviewing the effectiveness of counsel; and

(3) Whether the trial court's findings of fact were sufficiently specific.

On the evening of June 27, 1973, appellant met the decedent, Russel E. Smith, at the Rathskeller tavern. The two men entered into a wager for a pool game. They had argued about the amount of the bet but finally agreed on five dollars. When Smith lost the pool game, he refused to pay off on the bet.

After Shackelford left the tavern he heard someone saying something to him as he crossed the street but he could not understand the words. Appellant walked towards the speaker to determine what was said.

The speaker turned out to be Smith. Shackelford testified that Smith called him a smart aleck. Appellant responded that Smith should not be gambling unless he had enough money to back his bet. Smith then allegedly hit appellant, whose vision became blurred. The next thing that appellant remembered after he was hit by Smith was that he "was in the act of kicking him. I seen he was down and I kicked. As I was kicking I was trying to break the kick, but I was too close and I grazed off

Page 1016

his shoulder and went into his face." Appellant claims that he does not remember hitting Smith and was unaware that Smith was seriously injured when he left.

While Smith's face was severely injured from crushing blows, he died from injuries sustained to his chest: broken ribs which severed two of the main chest arteries.

At 1:30 a.m. the next morning, Smith's body was found by the police lying on the ground of the parking lot across from the Rathskeller tavern. At 2:15 a.m., appellant returned to this parking lot and was subsequently arrested.

I. Multiple Defenses

Appellant's claim that he did not have effective assistance of counsel at his trial is predicated on two theories: first, that trial counsel presented two inconsistent defenses, and, second, that trial counsel presented a third defense which was not supported by the evidence.

Appellant argues that self-defense and intoxication are inconsistent theories because one suggests that a person intends to defend himself while the latter argues that the individual is too intoxicated to formulate intent. He maintains that the presentation of inconsistent and unsupportable defenses prejudiced him at his trial because it suggested to the jury that he had no defense at all and was "merely grabbing at straws". He says that this approach prejudiced him by confusing and distracting the jury from any single substantial defense. He also claims that this approach destroyed his credibility before the jury. He further argues that he was prejudiced by proceeding to trial with the unsupportable defense of insanity, which was subsequently withdrawn during the trial.

To succeed on a theory of self-defense a defendant must show that he:

(1) was in a place where he had a right to be;

(2) acted without fault; and

(3) had a reasonable fear or apprehension of death or great bodily harm.

Hinkle v. State (1984), Ind., 471 N.E.2d 1088.

Voluntary intoxication requires a showing that the accused was so intoxicated as to be incapable of formulating the requisite intent. Henson v. State (1982), Ind., 436 N.E.2d 79. Voluntary intoxication may afford a complete defense which excuses the criminality of the act. Heyward v. State (1984), Ind., 470 N.E.2d 63. The evidence must show that the accused was incapable of performing acts which require a significant degree of physical or intellectual skills before a trier of fact is justified in finding that he was not responsible for his actions because of voluntary intoxication. Watkins v. State (1984), Ind., 468 N.E.2d 1049.

This Court has previously noted the difficulties that may inhere at trial when inconsistent or alternative defenses are presented by the criminal defendant. Hester v. State (1974), 262 Ind. 284, 315 N.E.2d 351. This issue has generally arisen when trial counsel has presented one defense and appellant claims that another defense should have been presented. In such situations, this Court has found that the appellant was effectively represented by trial counsel when assertion of the defense which had been omitted at trial would have been inconsistent and contradictory to the appellant's own trial testimony. Cates v. State (1984), Ind., 468 N.E.2d 522; Kemp v. State (1983), Ind., 446 N.E.2d 1306.

The theories of self-defense and intoxication are not inconsistent as a matter of law. Voluntary intoxication operates as a defense if it serves to negate mens rea. On the other hand, a self-defense theory encompasses both intentional and accidental killings. Gunn v. State (1977), 174 Ind.App. 26, 365 N.E.2d 1234. For...

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8 cases
  • Wisehart v. State, 48S00-9005-PD-378
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 19, 1998
    ...submission of conflicting defense theories could constitute ineffective assistance of trial counsel. See Shackelford v. State, 486 N.E.2d 1014, 1017 (Ind.1986) (holding trial counsel not ineffective for offering arguably inconsistent defense theories of self-defense and 19 In Shackelford, 4......
  • Woods v. State, 06S00-9403-PD-224
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 23, 1998
    ..."The issue is sufficiently presented for our review in accordance with the purposes of the post-conviction rule." Shackelford v. State, 486 N.E.2d 1014, 1018 (Ind.1986). 24 Cuyler is one of many Supreme Court cases dealing with the particular conflict of interest concerns presented by joint......
  • State v. Blanks
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • June 24, 1998
    ...Indiana and Pennsylvania have held that self-defense encompasses both intentional and accidental killings. Shackelford v. State, 486 N.E.2d 1014, 1016 (Ind.1986) ("self-defense may be asserted when the accused exerts proper force against the assailant whose death resulted accidentally"); Co......
  • Clark v. Duckworth, Civ. No. S 89-270.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • August 12, 1991
    ...even if counsel's performance was deficient, we may only grant relief upon a showing of harm. Shackelford v. State (1986), Ind., 486 N.E.2d 1014. To determine harm, it is necessary to look at the totality of the evidence to ascertain whether, but for counsel's errors, there is a reasonable ......
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