Vaughn v. State, No. 49S00-8811-PC-931

Docket NºNo. 49S00-8811-PC-931
Citation559 N.E.2d 610
Case DateSeptember 19, 1990
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 610

559 N.E.2d 610
Rickey Lee VAUGHN, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 49S00-8811-PC-931.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Sept. 19, 1990.

Page 612

Susan K. Carpenter, Public Defender, John Pinnow, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Arthur Thaddeus Perry, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Justice.

This is an appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief. In 1976, appellant was convicted of two counts of Second Degree Murder. The trial court sentenced appellant to two life terms. This court affirmed the convictions and ordered that one of the life sentences be vacated. Vaughn v. State (1978), 269 Ind. 142, 378 N.E.2d 859. In 1978, the trial court vacated one of the life sentences.

Following a hearing on this petition, the trial court made thorough findings of fact and conclusions of law and denied post-conviction relief.

Appellant contends he was denied the effective assistance of pretrial and trial counsel in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. This Court in Aubrey v. State (1985), Ind., 478 N.E.2d 70, discussed the standard of review for effective assistance of counsel. See also Schiro v. State (1989), Ind., 533 N.E.2d 1201, cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 268, 107 L.Ed.2d 218. We will examine each of the alleged inadequacies under the two-part test in Strickland v. Washington (1984), 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674.

Many of appellant's arguments center upon prejudicial publicity. Appellant relies on Irvin v. Dowd (1961), 366 U.S. 717, 81 S.Ct. 1639, 6 L.Ed.2d 751; Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966), 384 U.S. 333, 86 S.Ct. 1507, 16 L.Ed.2d 600; and Callahan v. Lash (N.D.Ind.1974), 381 F.Supp. 827 to support his argument.

In Irvin, six murders were committed in late 1954 and early 1955 in Evansville, Indiana. Throughout this time period, the news media extensively covered the crimes and aroused great excitement and indignation throughout Vanderburgh County. Police arrested the defendant in April of 1955 and issued press releases which were extensively publicized, stating defendant had confessed to the six murders. Defendant was indicted for murder and his case was venued to an adjoining county. He was eventually tried in that county after a second change of venue motion was denied. The United States Supreme Court reversed finding that the publicity was so intense covering the crimes that even after the trial was moved to an adjoining county, it proved impossible to select an impartial jury. In fact, eight of the twelve jurors finally selected stated that they thought

Page 613

the defendant was guilty even before the presentation of the evidence.

In Sheppard, the defendant was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife. Immediately after the murder, the news media covered the story. From early July until November daily articles appeared in the newspaper regarding the crime and daily editorials also appeared. These articles implied the defendant's guilt with titles like "Quit Stalling--Bring Him In," "Why Isn't Sam Sheppard in Jail?" and "DR. SAM: 'I Wish There Was Something I Could Get Off My Chest--But There Isn't.' " During trial, the courtroom was packed with media inside the bar of the court to the point that defendant and his counsel could not speak privately at counsel table. The United States Supreme Court reversed the denial of the petition for habeas corpus and found that the trial judge did not fulfill his duty to protect the defendant from the inherently prejudicial publicity which saturated the community and to control the disruptive influences in the courtroom.

In Callahan, the defendant was convicted of murdering Officer Edward Byrne of the Marion County Sheriff's staff. This crime was the subject of many news stories including headlines, editorials, and pictures during the several days following the murder. In fact, within the two week period following the murder, there were 118 news articles published. During the next eight months, there were a total of thirteen articles. The Court in reviewing the articles indicated that standing alone they would not support a claim of a denial of procedural due process. However, when viewed as a part of the totality of circumstances surrounding the trial, they became quite another matter. The Court found that the trial court took on the atmosphere of a circus by allowing media to roam the courtroom at will, allowing television cameras in the courtroom, and allowing the names and addresses of the jurors published.

In the instant case, the record reveals that on October 22, 1974, about 1:15 p.m., Leslie Corrie, an armored car driver, observed a police officer and a man identified as appellant at the side of a Cadillac on North College Avenue. Mr. Corrie testified that the officer was backing away with his hands up while the appellant shoved him back two or three times. Appellant then shot the officer and fled. The next day the Indianapolis newspapers reported that appellant had been identified as the suspect. A search for appellant ensued, but he was not apprehended until June 28, 1975.

Appellant argues that as a result of the publicity surrounding the case, the jury was unduly influenced. In support of his argument, appellant claims prejudicial publicity resulted from the media covering the crime and reports of the fatal shooting of Indianapolis Police Officer James Compton on March 16, 1976, just a few weeks prior to appellant's trial.

There were 78 articles pertaining to the crime with 22 of them appearing on the front page. There were 44 articles with appellant's name in the headline and 17 articles with appellant's picture. Although most jurors were exposed to the pretrial publicity, most stated that they had no opinion about whether appellant was guilty or innocent. Although there was a lot of coverage surrounding this crime, we find that the media coverage is of a normal nature and does not exceed the bounds of propriety found in the cases above.

Appellant nowhere in his brief has shown that the trial court proceeded in an atmosphere of circus and hysteria as in Irvin, Sheppard, and Callahan. In fact, appellant's contention rests purely on the publicity. We also note that appellant wanted the case to be tried in Marion County and did not request a change of venue because he had grown up in Marion County and felt that he could receive a fair trial there. Appellant's claim that trial counsel was ineffective because they did not persist in requesting a continuance based on the continuing high level of pretrial publicity is without merit. We cannot say that trial counsel was ineffective under the two-part test in Strickland.

Appellant contends that counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve alleged errors made by the court during voir dire.

Page 614

The record reveals that one of the jurors, Patricia Gull, happened to be on the panel of prospective jurors when another prospective juror, Violet Hill, expressed an opinion that appellant was guilty. After the trial...

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17 practice notes
  • Spinks v. McBride, No. 3:93cv0542 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • June 29, 1994
    ...on appeal. We disagree. Failure to raise meritless claims does not constitute ineffectiveness of counsel. Vaughn v. State (1990), Ind., 559 N.E.2d 610. We found above that trial counsel was not ineffective; therefore, the issue of trial counsel ineffectiveness is without merit. Accordingly,......
  • State v. Jonas, No. 15-1560
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 1, 2017
    ...Amendment challenges to jury selection), rev'd on other grounds, 503 U.S. 159, 112 S.Ct. 1093,117 L.Ed.2d 309 (1992) ; Vaughn v. State, 559 N.E.2d 610, 614 (Ind. 1990) (considering claim brought under Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments); State v. Tranby, 437 N.W.2d 817, 824–25 (N.D. 1989) (inv......
  • State v. Hickman, No. CR-01-0424-PR.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • May 19, 2003
    ...780 P.2d 1103, 1108 n. 3 (1989); People v. Gleash, 209 Ill.App.3d 598, 154 Ill.Dec. 348, 568 N.E.2d 348, 353 (1991); Vaughn v. State, 559 N.E.2d 610, 614 (Ind.1990); State v. Neuendorf, 509 N.W.2d 743, 747 (Iowa 1993); Williams v. Commonwealth, 829 S.W.2d 942, 943 (Ky.Ct.App.1992); Hunt v. ......
  • Lowery v. State, No. 32S00-9008-PD-542
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 4, 1994
    ...at 763. Again, this Court, on review, will not second-guess a trial counsel's tactical decisions. See Vaughn v. State (1990), Ind., 559 N.E.2d 610. At the post-conviction hearing, defense counsel Lawrence Giddings was questioned about his trial strategy with regards to Brown's testimony whe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Spinks v. McBride, No. 3:93cv0542 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • June 29, 1994
    ...on appeal. We disagree. Failure to raise meritless claims does not constitute ineffectiveness of counsel. Vaughn v. State (1990), Ind., 559 N.E.2d 610. We found above that trial counsel was not ineffective; therefore, the issue of trial counsel ineffectiveness is without merit. Accordingly,......
  • State v. Jonas, No. 15-1560
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 1, 2017
    ...Amendment challenges to jury selection), rev'd on other grounds, 503 U.S. 159, 112 S.Ct. 1093,117 L.Ed.2d 309 (1992) ; Vaughn v. State, 559 N.E.2d 610, 614 (Ind. 1990) (considering claim brought under Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments); State v. Tranby, 437 N.W.2d 817, 824–25 (N.D. 1989) (inv......
  • State v. Hickman, No. CR-01-0424-PR.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • May 19, 2003
    ...780 P.2d 1103, 1108 n. 3 (1989); People v. Gleash, 209 Ill.App.3d 598, 154 Ill.Dec. 348, 568 N.E.2d 348, 353 (1991); Vaughn v. State, 559 N.E.2d 610, 614 (Ind.1990); State v. Neuendorf, 509 N.W.2d 743, 747 (Iowa 1993); Williams v. Commonwealth, 829 S.W.2d 942, 943 (Ky.Ct.App.1992); Hunt v. ......
  • Lowery v. State, No. 32S00-9008-PD-542
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 4, 1994
    ...at 763. Again, this Court, on review, will not second-guess a trial counsel's tactical decisions. See Vaughn v. State (1990), Ind., 559 N.E.2d 610. At the post-conviction hearing, defense counsel Lawrence Giddings was questioned about his trial strategy with regards to Brown's testimony whe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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