ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
JON AARSTAD STEVE CARTER
Vanderburgh County Public Defender Agency Attorney General of Indiana
RICHARD C. WEBSTER
Deputy Attorney General
CHAD LEROY GOODWIN
SHEPARD, Chief Justice.
A jury found appellant Chad Leroy Goodwin guilty of armed robbery for holding
up a Pantry store in Evansville, and the trial court sentenced him to
ten years in prison. The Court of Appeals found certain evidence wrongly
admitted and reversed. We grant transfer and affirm the trial court.
The States evidence was considerable. Aside from the store clerk who identified
Goodwin as the perpetrator, the State called a number of Goodwins friends.
One of these acquaintances described Goodwins announcement that he intended to commit the
robbery. In an apparent effort to portray this announcement as puffery not
to be taken seriously, defense counsel asked the witness, Did you ever know
him to do anything like that during the time you were dating?
The witness replied, I had known him to break into cars and do
little things but Ive never known him to actually rob a Pantry.
Tr. at 47-48.
Other friends testified about how Goodwin later described the robbery, what he was
wearing, what he took from the clerk, what he did with the weapon,
and so on. The prosecution queried these witnesses about Goodwins other exploits,
which did largely turn out to be non-violent larcenies like smashing car windows
to steal the stereos.
The defense did not object to any of this evidence. A divided
Court of Appeals held that its admission constituted fundamental error requiring reversal.
Goodwin v. State, 777 N.E.2d 1216 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) (Baker, J., dissenting).
Failure to object at trial customarily means that a party has not preserved
any claim for appeal. The fundamental error exception to this rule permits
reversal when there has been a blatant violation of basic principles that denies
a defendant fundamental due process. Wilson v. State, 514 N.E.2d 282, 284
The evidence elicited from Goodwins friends did not qualify under this standard.
Neither did the prosecutors questions suggesting that Goodwin needed somehow to straighten out
his life nor his argument to the jury that it should [h]elp us
help Chad and return with a verdict of guilty, to which there were
likewise no objections. Tr. at 170.
We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
DICKSON, SULLIVAN, BOEHM, and RUCKER, JJ., concur.