Williams v. State, No. 3-280

Docket NºNo. 3-280
Citation406 N.E.2d 263
Case DateSeptember 18, 1980
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 263

406 N.E.2d 263
Charles WILLIAMS, Appellant-Defendant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 3-280 A 46.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, Fourth District.
Sept. 18, 1980.

Daniel L. Toomey, Toomey & Woloshansky, Merrillville, for appellant-defendant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Wesley T. Wilson, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee-plaintiff.


On October 26, 1978, Joseph Davis was killed by shots fired from the window of a white Chevrolet Camaro driven by the defendant, Charles Williams. Williams and Greg Harrison, a passenger, were charged

Page 264

with the murder. Appellant subsequently filed a motion for severance which was granted. A jury found Harrison not guilty in April of 1979, but on September 4, 1979, a jury found Williams guilty of the lesser offense of reckless homicide. Williams appeals his conviction raising one issue:

Whether the acquittal of co-defendant Greg Harrison precludes the subsequent conviction of Williams when the evidence shows Williams acted only as an accessory to the crime.


The defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence which established his guilt. Instead, Williams argues that because the evidence shows his participation in the crime charged was limited to the role of an accessory, the acquittal of Greg Harrison precludes his conviction. This result, argues Williams, is dictated by the decisions of our Supreme Court in Combs v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 294, 295 N.E.2d 366 and Schmidt v. State, (1971) 255 Ind. 443, 265 N.E.2d 219, rehearing denied (1971) 256 Ind. 218, 267 N.E.2d 554, modified (1973) 261 Ind. 81, 300 N.E.2d 86, and by the principles of collateral estoppel and "evenhanded justice." We hold the prosecution and conviction of Williams was not barred by the acquittal of Greg Harrison.

In Combs v. State, supra, our Supreme Court restated the common law rule which precludes the conviction of an accessory where the principal to the crime has been tried and acquitted. 295 N.E.2d at 370. Justice DeBruler wrote:

"It is clear that an accessory's conviction need not always be irrevocably tied to the principal's. The rule . . . is that where there has (sic) been two separate judicial determinations on the merits of the respective cases, and where they are contradictory, the law will impose a consistency to their findings."

Id. See also Schmidt v. State, supra; McCarty v. State, (1873) 44 Ind. 214. However, regardless of its desirability,...

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4 cases
  • People v. Luigs, 79-626
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 26, 1981
    ...Court of Appeals, 3rd District, disposed of this issue in similar fashion. (Williams v. State of Indiana (3rd Dist. 1980), Ind.App., 406 N.E.2d 263.) The [96 Ill.App.3d 704] defendant Williams drove the car from which his co-assailant allegedly fired several fatal shots. He challenged his c......
  • Reid v. State, 89A01-9806-CR-222.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 17, 1999
    ...protections, barred defendant's retrial for conspiracy to commit arson following acquittal of felony murder charge); Williams v. State, 406 N.E.2d 263, 264 (Ind.Ct.App.1980) (holding that conviction of accessory following acquittal of principal as permitted by statute is not precluded on pr......
  • Sanquenetti v. State, 83S00-9802-CR-88.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • April 14, 2000
    ...and each trial shall be considered and treated separately and independently.") (citing IND.CODE § 35-41-2-4); Williams v. State, 406 N.E.2d 263, 264 (Ind.Ct.App.1980) ("[R]egardless of its desirability, this common law rule was abrogated with the passage of Ind.Code 35-41-2-4, effective Oct......
  • Rainey v. State, 18A02-9004-CR-201
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 4, 1991
    ...offense, even if the other person: * * * * * * (3) has been acquitted of the offense." See Williams v. State (1980) 4th Dist.Ind.App., 406 N.E.2d 263. Certainly, if acquittal of a principal does not preclude conviction of an accessory for the crime charged, conviction of the principal for a......

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