ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
JEFFREY E. KIMMELL STEVE CARTER
South Bend, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
ARTHUR THADDEUS PERRY
Deputy Attorney General
JOSHUA WARNER, ) ) Appellant (Defendant ), ) ) v. ) Cause No. 71S00-0011-CR-622 ) STATE OF INDIANA, ) ) Appellee (Plaintiff ). )
A jury found Warner guilty on all three counts and the court sentenced
him to consecutive terms of fifty-five years for murder and ten years for
Indiana Code Ann. § 35-34-1-5(c) (West 2000) provides that [u]pon motion of the
prosecuting attorney, the court may, at any time before, during, or after the
trial, permit an amendment to the indictment or information in respect to any
defect, imperfection, or omission in form which does not prejudice the substantial rights
of the defendant.
Amendments that prejudice a defendants substantial rights have been the subject of considerable
judicial examination. In Murphy v. State, 453 N.E.2d 219, 223 (Ind. 1983),
charges of burglary and theft were filed against the defendant. At the
first trial, the defense moved for a mistrial because of a State witnesss
improper identification procedures, and the trial court granted the motion. Id.
The State subsequently added an habitual offender charge, raising the possible sentence from
twelve to forty years. Id. at 223, 226-27. No new evidence
was discovered between the mistrial and the amendment. Id. at 227.
We held that the State could not bring more serious charges against the
defendant when nothing has occurred except the successful exercise of the right to
a fair trial. Id. Elaborating on the holding, Justice Prentice wrote:
Under such circumstances, fundamental fairness precludes a requirement that Defendant show vindictive motivation or that the State be permitted to show its absence. Were we to hold otherwise, an accused in Defendant's predicament would be required to elect whether he would submit to a trial had without due process of law or to a trial wherein there was a potential for a much more severe penalty. Our concept of justice simply will not sanction an implicit form of bargaining where the accused must purchase due process of law.
Id. In other words, unless there is new evidence or information discovered
to warrant additional charges, the potential for prosecutorial vindictiveness is too great for
courts to allow the State to bring additional charges against a defendant who
successfully moves for a mistrial.
The States argument that the newly discovered witness warranted the additional charges falls flat. This new witness was never called to testify or provide information at Warners second trial. Instead, the State argued that three pieces of evidence established the attempted robbery charge: (1) Warners own statement that his alleged acquaintance started to rob her, (R. at 2343); (2) Warners drug addiction and lack of money, (R. at 2344); and (3) Warners statement to his girlfriends mother that his motive was robbery, (R. at 1867, 2344-45). The State had all of this information before the mistrial.
New evidence will permit the State to amend its charging information in an appropriate circumstance. This is not one of them. It is central to the theory in Murphy that if new evidence is discovered, it contribute to the States case against the defendant. Whatever new information the State may have received concerning Warners alleged attempted robbery, it chose not even to use it at trial.
Having known of the attempted robbery evidence it used at the second trial
all along, notions of fundamental fairness dictate that it was improper for the
State to add the new counts after Warner exercised his right to a
fair trial. The court erred in permitting the amendment.
In a related argument, Warner contends that re-trial constituted double jeopardy because the State filed additional charges and previewed his defense strategy. The events that led to the mistrial revolved around the States identification of footprints at the crime scene. (See R. at 864-98.) Prior to trial, the defense was led to believe that a bloody footprint found outside Rokops residence belonged to someone other that Warner. (R. at 864-65; Appellants Br. at 16.) On the second day of the initial trial, Warners attorney was notified of a second set of footprints that were still in the process of being identified but apparently did not belong to Warner. (R. at 863-64, 869, 876.) Based upon this surprise evidence, the defense successfully moved for a mistrial. (R. at 864-98.)
A defendant forfeits the right to raise a double jeopardy claim if he moves for or consents to a mistrial unless the motion for mistrial was necessitated by governmental conduct intended to goad the defendant into moving for a mistrial. Willoughby v. State, 660 N.E.2d 570, 576 (Ind. 1996) (citations omitted). The State must intentionally force the defendant into moving for a mistrial before it is prohibited from a second prosecution. Id.
The trial court explicitly found that the State did nothing intentional to provoke
Warner into seeking a mistrial. (R. at 895.) Warners appellate counsel
concedes as much, but argues that the State clearly was responsible for the
circumstances which forced defense counsel into moving for a mistrial. (Appellants Br.
at 17.) This is not enough. Both the defense and the
State erroneously believed, due to a mislabeling at the police laboratory, that only
one unidentified set of footprints existed. (R. at 865, 877.) As
soon as the State discovered this misunderstanding, it notified the defense. (R.
at 873.) The second trial did not violate double jeopardy.
In the hours following Rokops murder, police learned that Warner and Rokop had
dated a year earlier. Rokops acquaintances suggested that Warner was someone who
might have reason to harm her. Police twice went to Warners residence
seeking to question him about the murder. On the initial visit, the
police left a message with Warners girlfriend. On their second visit, they
knocked on the front and side doors but received no answer.
Warner kept his trash can near the side door; it was partially concealed
from view by a three-foot, L-shaped fence. (R. at 1633, 1639.)
One policeman noticed a wad of gauze that was stained reddish-brown sitting atop
the can. (R. at 1634.) Both officers who were on the
scene stated that based on their experience, they believed the gauze was blood-stained.
(R. at 87, 1649.)
Police called an evidence technician to Warners home to test the stained gauze;
it tested positive for blood. (R. at 1636.) Based upon this
information, the police obtained a search warrant and discovered blood droplets in the
house and bloody clothing hidden in the trash. Tests revealed Rokops blood
on the clothing. Over Warners motion to suppress and timely objections, the
State used all of this evidence at trial.
The Fourth Amendment protects [t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV. Searches and seizures conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment subject only to a few specifically established and well delineated exceptions. Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366, 372 (1993) (citations omitted).
One such exception is the plain view exception, which provides that if police
are lawfully in a position from which to view the object, if its
incriminating character is immediately apparent, and if the officers have a lawful right
of access to the object, they may seize it without a warrant.
Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128, 135-37 (1990).
This case fits within the plain view exception. The police were lawfully
in a position to view the evidence. After twice finding Warner away
from home, they knocked on the side door, and from there saw the
gauze in plain view. The police were legitimately on the premise to
question Warner as part of their initial investigation. The plain view doctrine
is applicable when police are not searching for evidence against the accused, but
nonetheless inadvertently come across an incriminating object. Id. at 135 (citations omitted).
Moreover, the incriminating character of the evidence was immediately apparent to the
police. Upon viewing the gauze, both believed that the gauze was soaked
with blood. (R. at 87, 1649.) Having viewed the evidence in
a public place from a lawful vantage point and having immediately recognized its
incriminating character, the police properly seized the bloody gauze.
Warners claim that the search warrant used to discover his bloody clothing hidden in the garbage was not supported by probable cause is also without merit.
To be valid, a warrant and its underlying affidavit must comply with the
Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as Indiana constitutional
and statutory law. Gray v. State, 758 N.E.2d 519, 521 (Ind. 2001).
The task of the issuing magistrate is simply to make a practical,
common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth before him . .
. there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime
will be found in a particular place. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S.
213, 238 (1983).
As the reviewing court, our duty under the Fourth Amendment is to determine
whether the magistrate issuing the warrant had a substantial basis for concluding that
probable cause existed. Id. at 238-39. While we give significant
deference to the magistrate's determination, our search for substantial basis must focus on
whether reasonable inferences drawn from the totality of the evidence support the determination.
Houser v. State, 678 N.E.2d 95, 99 (Ind. 1997).
When they sought the search warrant, police had the following information: (1)
a bloody crime scene in which the victims jugular vein was partially severed,
(R. at 12); (2) statements from Rokops friends that Rokop and Warner had
dated a year earlier, (R. at 12-13, 1628-29, 1647); and (3) stained
gauze from Warners residence that tested positive for the presence of blood, (R.
at 13, 1636).
Given this information, the judge had a substantial basis
for concluding that a fair probability existed that contraband or evidence of the
crime would be found at Warners residence. The court properly denied Warners
motion to suppress the evidence collected under the search warrant.
After the jurors omission was discovered, the trial court questioned her on the
Court: Did [your sisters murder] in any way affect your ability to render a fair and impartial verdict, based upon the evidence that you heard in court and the law upon which you were instructed?
Juror: No, it did not.
Court: Is there a reason that you . . . did not disclose that information to the Court or to the attorneys during the voir dire that occurred on May 22?
Juror: No. After I guess I just blanked that out. I mean, there is nothing I can do about it, I cant change what happened to her or let my feelings towards anybody else go towards anything else. I dont do that.
. . .
Court: Is there a reason that you answered the question negatively in the jury questionnaire?
Juror: I think I might have just This was sent to where I used to live and my old roommate had it for a while and evidently what I did I just got it and just hurried up and filled it out . . . .
(R. at 353-54.)
After considering the defenses argument and reviewing the jurors responses, the court concluded
that the juror did not deliberately withhold this information, that she was not
biased against Warner, and that Warner received a fair trial. (R. at
We are not persuaded that the trial court abused its discretion. Although
it was wrong for the juror to omit this information from her questionnaire,
we cannot conclude that the omission rose to the level of gross misconduct.
She testified under oath that this prior incident did not affect her
impartiality. Moreover, given the amount of evidence presented by the State, Warner
was not harmed. Rokops daughter described a lone assailant substantially similar to
Warners appearance; Warners knife was embedded in Rokops neck; he admitted being at
the scene of the crime; and police found Warners clothes covered with Rokops
blood hidden in his trash. We see very little likelihood that the
jurors omitted response in any way affected the verdict.
The determination of whether to grant a continuance lies within the sound discretion
of the trial court when the motion is not based upon statutory grounds.
Brewer v. State, 275 Ind. 338, 368, 417 N.E.2d 889, 906 (1981),
cert. denied, 458 U.S. 1122 (1982). There is a strong presumption that
the trial court properly exercised its discretion. Elmore v. State, 657 N.E.2d
1216, 1218 (Ind. 1995).
In this case, Warner contends that a continuance was required to permit an
investigation into his potential for future dangerousness and his prior mental condition.
Nevertheless, he tells us nothing to indicate what he thinks the evaluation would
have uncovered or how it would have affected his sentence. As a
result of our decision to reverse his attempted robbery conviction, Warner will receive
the presumptive term of fifty-five years for murder. Counsel has not suggested
any particular way that a psychological evaluation would have led to a lesser
sentence. We find no abuse of discretion here. See Brewer, 275
Ind. at 368, 417 N.E.2d at 906 (denial of motion grounded upon sheer
speculation that some benefit might flow is not arbitrary or abusive).