Wright v. State, No. 30S00-9006-CR-433

Docket NºNo. 30S00-9006-CR-433
Citation593 N.E.2d 1192
Case DateJune 24, 1992
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1192

593 N.E.2d 1192
Ross R. WRIGHT, Stanley C. Wright, Appellants,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 30S00-9006-CR-433.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
June 24, 1992.

Page 1194

George J. Lewis and Blair W. Amick, Lineback & Lewis, Greenfield, for Ross R. Wright.

Dawn E. Wellman, Brand & Allen, Greenfield, for Stanley C. Wright.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Gary Damon Secrest, Deputy Atty. Gen., and Terry K. Snow, Pros. Atty., Hancock County, Greenfield, for the State.

GIVAN, Justice.

Appellants were tried by a jury and both were found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The trial court sentenced each to a term of sixty (60) years for murder, and fifty (50) years for conspiracy to commit murder. The terms were to be served consecutively.

The facts are: On April 20, 1989, at 10:00 p.m., William Edward Freeland's wife, Teresa Freeland, found him murdered at their New Palestine residence. The coroner attributed the cause of death to stab wounds and blunt force injuries.

Officers took Teresa Freeland's statement and while attempting to verify her alibi discovered inconsistencies. On May 4, 1989, Freeland submitted to polygraph examinations during the course of which she confessed her involvement in the crime and implicated both appellants. Freeland planned her husband's death in order to inherit his estate and collect his life insurance. She stated she was having an affair with Stanley Wright. Freeland was to pay Ross Wright the sum $10,000 for helping Stanley Wright murder her husband. She entered into a plea agreement with the State and testified against both appellants.

Appellant Stanley Wright claims the trial court erred by admitting in evidence gloves, a baseball bat, and a tire thumper seized from appellant's pickup truck shortly after his arrest. He contends the evidence was obtained without a valid search warrant. Stanley filed a pretrial motion to suppress based on the validity of the search. However, his only objection to the evidence at trial was based on relevance.

When the trial court denies a motion to suppress evidence or takes the motion under advisement, the moving party must renew his objection to admission of the evidence at trial. Morgan v. State (1981), Ind.App., 427 N.E.2d 1131. If the moving party does not object to the evidence at trial, then any error is waived. Id. Alleged error likewise is waived if an appellant states one ground at trial and later states another ground on appeal. Jester v. State (1990), Ind., 551 N.E.2d 840. Stanley's objections to the evidence are different; therefore, he has failed to properly preserve this issue on appeal.

Both appellants have raised the issue that the trial court committed reversible error by limiting cross-examination of Freeland about the circumstances surrounding her confession. The State filed a motion in limine which was granted by the trial court prohibiting reference to the polygraph examinations or questioning of Freeland regarding the circumstances of her polygraph examinations. Freeland testified against both appellants and her confession was used against them at trial. Both appellants claim that this limitation impinged upon their ability to challenge Freeland's credibility through cross-examination, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, regarding motive or bias.

Granting of a motion in limine by the trial court is not a final ruling upon the admissibility of evidence. Sharp v. State (1989), Ind. 534 N.E.2d 708, cert. denied (1990), 494 U.S. 1031, 110 S.Ct. 1481, 108 L.Ed.2d 617. The purpose of the ruling is to prevent presentation of the potentially prejudicial evidence until the trial court can rule on the admissibility of the evidence in the trial context. Id.

The harm claimed by both appellants is that they were unable to cross-examine concerning the circumstances leading up to Freeland's confession. Clearly, reference to the fact that a party or a witness has taken a polygraph examination is inadmissible. Hall v. State (1987), Ind., 514 N.E.2d 1265. The trial court has no discretion to admit evidence absent a proper waiver or stipulation entered into by

Page 1195

both parties. Smith v. State (1989), Ind., 547 N.E.2d 817. There was no such agreement between the parties in the present case.

The record reveals that both appellants were allowed to question Freeland regarding the changes in her story to the police, the amount of time she spent at the police station being questioned by the officers, the amount of stress she experienced during questioning, and whether she intended to lie to protect herself and appellants. Freeland also was cross-examined fully regarding her plea agreement with the State. When the issue came up at trial, counsel referred to the examination process as interviews.

A fair trial requires a full, adequate, and effective cross-examination. McKinley v. State (1984), Ind.App., 465 N.E.2d 742. A party must be afforded the opportunity to fully cross-examine witnesses, and should not be unduly limited by the court. Mengon v. State (1987), Ind., 505 N.E.2d 788. However, collateral and prejudicial matters are properly excluded from the scope of cross-examination. Stonebraker v. State (1987), Ind., 505 N.E.2d 55.

In the present case, appellants were able to examine Freeland regarding any undue influence exercised by the police prior to her confession and any motive or bias she might have to implicate appellants in the commission of the crimes without making reference to prejudicial matters. We fail to see how appellants were harmed by the limitation selected by the trial court. The trial court did not abuse its discretion.

Appellant Stanley Wright's final argument is that the trial court committed reversible error by denying his motion for discharge pursuant to Ind.Crim.Rule 4(B)(1) of the Indiana Rules of Criminal Procedure.

On May 5, 1989, Stanley moved for an early trial and the trial court set the cause for trial on June 12, 1989. On June 5, 1989, the State filed a motion for continuance which was granted by the trial court. The cause was reset for trial on July 10, 1989. On the day scheduled for trial, Stanley filed a motion for continuance which was granted by the trial court.

On July 13, 1989, Stanley filed a demand for commencement of trial, or in the alternative, discharge pursuant to Crim.Rule 4, and stated his preparedness to go to trial on July 14, or the week of July 17, 1989. The trial court denied Stanley's demand on July 17, 1989, and set the cause for trial on August 30, 1989. On August 15, Stanley again moved for discharge. Trial commenced on September 5, 1989.

The purpose of a motion for speedy trial made pursuant to Crim.Rule 4(B)(1) is served when the defendant makes the motion and the trial court takes action by setting the cause for trial. Dixon v. State (1982), Ind., 437 N.E.2d 1318. If the defendant causes a delay, as in the case at bar, he must file a motion requesting the immediate commencement of trial in order to invoke his rights under the rule. Id. Stanley accurately states that he did just that in the present case.

The seventy day time period would have expired on Friday, July 14, 1989. However, Stanley concedes he caused a delay of at least one day through his motion for continuance. On Monday, July 17, 1989, the trial court denied Stanley's trial demand and request for discharge and set the cause for trial on August 30, 1989.

Stanley argues that he did not acquiesce to the later trial date and relies on his previous immediate trial demand to support that argument. He further states that the parties were not present when the trial court reset the trial date. However, a defendant must object at the earliest opportunity when his trial is set beyond the time limitations of Crim.Rule 4. Fry v. State (1988), Ind., 521 N.E.2d 1302. If an objection is not timely made, the defendant is deemed to have acquiesced to the later trial date. Decker v. State (1988), Ind., 528 N.E.2d 1119. Stanley waited nearly a month before filing an objection to the later trial date. Therefore, it was reasonable to assume that he had abandoned his request for a speedy trial. The trial court did not err in denying his motion for discharge.

Page 1196

Appellant, Ross Wright, claims that the trial court erred by granting the State's motion for mistrial. Ross argues that there was no manifest necessity for the mistrial and that he was subjected to former jeopardy when he was brought to trial a second time on the same charges.

The first trial began on September 5, 1989. During his opening statement, counsel for Stanley Wright stated to the jury that Freeland had failed polygraph examinations, and two posters were displayed in the courtroom both of which referred to Freeland's polygraph examinations. One of the posters was entitled "Why Teresa Freeland Is A Liar." The other poster contained references to the actual polygraph examinations. The State moved for a mistrial which ultimately was granted by the trial court. Counsel for Ross objected to the State's motion for mistrial.

The determination to grant a mistrial is within the trial court's discretion and great deference is accorded the trial court on appeal since it is in the best position to gauge the circumstances and the probable impact on the jury. Hall v. State (1987), Ind., 514 N.E.2d 1265. Further, the trial court has the authority to declare a mistrial where a manifest necessity for the mistrial exists. Patterson v. State (1986), Ind., 495 N.E.2d 714. Reversal of the trial court's determination will be required only after an abuse of discretion has been established. Id.

In the case at bar, defense counsel referred to Freeland's polygraph examination which clearly was inadmissible absent a waiver or stipulation between the parties. Hall, supra. We have held that once inadmissible testimony is interjected, the trial court has a duty to evaluate the situation to determine the damage done by...

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57 practice notes
  • Krise v. State, No. 16S05-0002-CR-118.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 9, 2001
    ...shared the home and the defendant himself led police to bags of cocaine and a scale which he used to weigh marijuana); Wright v. State, 593 N.E.2d 1192 (Ind.) (ruling that a roommate's consent allowed the officers to lawfully search common areas of the residence from which the officers coul......
  • Shaw v. Wilson, No. 12–1628.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 28, 2013
    ...have supported a challenge to the amended information at the time of his appeal. The most compelling among them are Wright v. Indiana, 593 N.E.2d 1192, 1197 (Ind.1992), and Sharp v. Indiana, 534 N.E.2d 708, 714 (Ind.1989), which both include declarations that a charging document cannot be a......
  • Brock v. State , No. 38S02–1101–CR–8.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 18, 2011
    ...the same offense. Jackson v. State, 925 N.E.2d 369, 373 (Ind.2010); Brown v. State, 703 N.E.2d 1010, 1015 (Ind.1998); Wright v. State, 593 N.E.2d 1192, 1196 (Ind.1992). Justice Story articulated the “manifest necessity” standard more than 185 years ago and it remains the law today: We think......
  • Tyson v. State, No. 49A02-9203-CR-129
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 6, 1993
    ...court are not available on appeal." Fozzard v. State (1988), Ind., 518 N.E.2d 789, 792 (citation omitted); Wright v. State (1992), Ind., 593 N.E.2d 1192, 1194, cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 605, 121 L.Ed.2d 540 (1992). While Tyson's trial counsel could not have been expected to be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
57 cases
  • Krise v. State, No. 16S05-0002-CR-118.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 9, 2001
    ...shared the home and the defendant himself led police to bags of cocaine and a scale which he used to weigh marijuana); Wright v. State, 593 N.E.2d 1192 (Ind.) (ruling that a roommate's consent allowed the officers to lawfully search common areas of the residence from which the officers coul......
  • Shaw v. Wilson, No. 12–1628.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 28, 2013
    ...have supported a challenge to the amended information at the time of his appeal. The most compelling among them are Wright v. Indiana, 593 N.E.2d 1192, 1197 (Ind.1992), and Sharp v. Indiana, 534 N.E.2d 708, 714 (Ind.1989), which both include declarations that a charging document cannot be a......
  • Brock v. State , No. 38S02–1101–CR–8.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 18, 2011
    ...the same offense. Jackson v. State, 925 N.E.2d 369, 373 (Ind.2010); Brown v. State, 703 N.E.2d 1010, 1015 (Ind.1998); Wright v. State, 593 N.E.2d 1192, 1196 (Ind.1992). Justice Story articulated the “manifest necessity” standard more than 185 years ago and it remains the law today: We think......
  • Tyson v. State, No. 49A02-9203-CR-129
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 6, 1993
    ...court are not available on appeal." Fozzard v. State (1988), Ind., 518 N.E.2d 789, 792 (citation omitted); Wright v. State (1992), Ind., 593 N.E.2d 1192, 1194, cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 605, 121 L.Ed.2d 540 (1992). While Tyson's trial counsel could not have been expected to be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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