Tales from the Brown Desk

Tales from the Brown Desk - Episode 17 - Criminal Trials (Bench & Jury) & Florida Man

August 26, 2020 Rigney Law LLC
Tales from the Brown Desk
Tales from the Brown Desk - Episode 17 - Criminal Trials (Bench & Jury) & Florida Man
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Tales from the Brown Desk
Tales from the Brown Desk - Episode 17 - Criminal Trials (Bench & Jury) & Florida Man
Aug 26, 2020
Rigney Law LLC

Weekly Criminal Law Podcast, Tales from the Brown Desk, brought to you by Rigney Law LLC. Tales from the Brown Desk is a free flowing conversation involving two foul-mouthed attorneys. It may include graphic descriptions of sexual activity, violence, and traffic law. It may not be suitable for children. Listener discretion advised. 

Episode 17 continues a series - A Walk Through the Criminal Justice System in Indiana. In this episode, Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys Jacob Rigney and Kassi Rigney will walk us laypeople through criminal trials, both bench trials and jury trials. And of course, the latest Florida Man news. 

Show Notes Transcript

Weekly Criminal Law Podcast, Tales from the Brown Desk, brought to you by Rigney Law LLC. Tales from the Brown Desk is a free flowing conversation involving two foul-mouthed attorneys. It may include graphic descriptions of sexual activity, violence, and traffic law. It may not be suitable for children. Listener discretion advised. 

Episode 17 continues a series - A Walk Through the Criminal Justice System in Indiana. In this episode, Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys Jacob Rigney and Kassi Rigney will walk us laypeople through criminal trials, both bench trials and jury trials. And of course, the latest Florida Man news. 

Podcast Transcript

Jacob Rigney – It’s Friday afternoon. We’ve locked the door because someone suggested that downtown is a complete and utter wasteland. I mean just like Mad Max style. We walk through it every day, and it’s pretty much the same as it’s always been, but our Facebook feed couldn’t possibly be lying to us. Could it? And, also because it’s time for another edition of our weekly podcast, Tales from the Brown Desk. I’m Jake Rigney of Rigney Law LLC. With me as usual is my law partner, wife, and future Michigan visitor, Kassi Rigney. She’s leaving for vacation without me today, guys. Just me and the daughter at home chilling watching 23 hours of cartoons. It’s gonna be great.

Kassi Rigney – Eleanor says she wants to play Raid.

Jacob Rigney – That’s right. Nothing but tablet video games. That’ll be fun. Our host is Teri Ulm. Friendly reminder, Tales from the Brown Desk is a free-flowing conversation involving two foul-mouthed attorneys. It may include graphic descriptions of sexual activity, violence, and Yiddish. It may not be suitable for children, preteens, adolescents, emos, screamos, Robert Smith lookalikes, fans of the Cure, and Depeche Mode tribute bands. These jokes were better.

Teri Ulm – They were.

Jacob Rigney – Maybe I don’t need writers. Listener discretion is advised. Here’s Teri.

Teri Ulm – Hello, everyone. Hi, Jake. How are you today?

Jacob Rigney – I am poorly shaven, Teri. How are you?

Teri Ulm – Poorly shaving?

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. Look. Look at my like all this disaster back here that I just missed while I was shaving.

Teri Ulm – Good thing you have a mask to cover it up.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. Most the time people just can’t tell. But I can tell. I know. And that’s the most important thing.

Teri Ulm – It is. Hi, Kassi. How are you today?

Kassi Rigney – I’m excellent.

Teri Ulm – Good. So, today we’re going to continue our series: A Walk Through the Criminal Justice System in Indiana. Last week we talked about negotiations and plea deals in criminal cases. This week we are going to continue our adventure through the swamp and take the next step.

Jacob Rigney – Part 12.

Teri Ulm – Yes of 72.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. I think it’s going to be more like 80, 84 episodes. We’re behind schedule at this point.

Listener Question – What is the Statue of Limitations to Sue a Jail?

Teri Ulm – We are. But, before we continue our journey we have a listener question.

Jacob Rigney – Oh. I love it when we have listener questions.

Kassi Rigney – Me too.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. I do too. So, a listener from Fort Wayne, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. That’s okay.

Jacob Rigney – That’s all right. Good plan.

Teri Ulm – He said he was arrested while protesting.

Jacob Rigney – Oh.

Teri Ulm – He said that once he was inside the jail, he was beat by police officers or by officers. Not police officers, but officers in the jail. And he wants to file a suit and wants to know what the statute of limitations is, and what kind of attorney will he need.

Jacob Rigney – Right. So, if he or anyone intends to sue a state, the city, or any sort of officer who works for a state or a city or a municipality, they have six months to do that. The statute of limitations is much shorter. It’s based on Indiana law. And, you have to file a notice of intent to file a tort claim. I do not practice that type of law so I hesitate to go much further than that. I know those rules and that is about all I know about it. He should contact a civil litigation attorney, a personal injury attorney, or an attorney that works on civil rights matters. Because we are almost exclusively criminal defense here. So, I don’t want to say too much else about it, because I don’t like to talk about things I don’t know very much about.

Teri Ulm – Yes. Kassi, do you have anything to add or do you think Jake answered that pretty well?

Kassi Rigney – Jake answered that perfectly.

Jacob Rigney – Banging. Yo.

Criminal Trials in Indiana

Teri Ulm – Gold star. So, we will continue our series. We’re just going to do a short recap. So far on the series we’ve discussed investigations, arrest, screening, the initial hearing, the discovery phase, bond review hearing, the review of counsel hearing, pretrial conference, we’ve talked about suppression hearings, negotiations and plea agreements. And, now we’re taking the next step. To me, I think the next step might be a trial, but is there anything else that we missed or I missed?

Jacob Rigney – Well, you can get down into sort of the nitty-gritty stuff like instructions and motions in limine.  Things like that, but the next big thing that a person could watch and sort of understand what’s going on is the trial. If there’s is one. Now, obviously if there’s been a dismissal or a plea agreement, then you’re not having a trial. But those cases that aren’t resolved one of those two ways, they go to trial.

Does Every Defendant in a Criminal Case Have a Right to a Trial?

Teri Ulm – Now does every defendant in a criminal case have the right to a trial?

Kassi Rigney – Absolutely. Public and speedy trial.

What is a Fast and Speedy Trial in Indiana?

Teri Ulm – When you say speedy trial, what do you mean by that?

Kassi Rigney – Three-hundred and sixty-five (365) days maybe as short as seventy (70) if you’re in custody on a state case. But those aren’t raw numbers. I always call it lawyer math. It has to be those amount of days attributed to the state. So, you can’t go in and continue it over and over and be like: “hey, you didn’t meet your deadline, state” because you were the one that caused those delays.

Bench Trials and Jury Trials

Teri Ulm – So, it’s my understanding that there are two different types of trials. You can have a jury trial or a bench trial.

Jacob Rigney – Yep.

Teri Ulm – Any other types of trials?

Jacob Rigney – I’m pretty sure they got rid of trial by combat, so I think it’s just those two now. Yeah.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. I think that one died. So with the jury trial and the bench trial can you explain to our listeners the difference between the two and if one is better than the other?

Jacob Rigney – The first part of that is pretty easy. The second part is much more complicated. And the other thing you have to remember, there also are different types of jury trials. But the basic difference between a jury trial and a bench trial is in a jury trial a certain number of people from the community get chosen to listen to the evidence, and decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. And, they’re instructed by the judge that they should only find the defendant guilty if they’re convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed all the elements of the offense that he or she is charged with. Now how many people are on that jury is different depending on what level of offense we’re talking about.

Teri Ulm – Interesting.

Jacob Rigney – In Indiana anyway.

How Many People are on a Jury Trial in a Criminal Case in Indiana?

Teri Ulm – My guess was there were 12, but maybe that’s from the 12 Angry Men.

Jacob Rigney – There often are 12 in Indiana for  an offense that’s a level five or higher. So level five, four, three, two, one, and murder, for those offenses you get a 12 person jury. Unless you agree to have a smaller number. For level 6 felony cases, as well as misdemeanors, you get a six-person jury. Either way, their verdict has to be unanimous. So, all 12 of them either have to agree on guilty or agree on not guilty, and if they don’t then you have what’s called a hung jury. And the trial is essentially then started over with a new jury on a different day. Now, that’s how a jury trial works. A bench trial is where we don’t have a jury, and instead the judge listens to the evidence and decides whether you’re guilty or not guilty.

Teri Ulm – Going back to the jury trial, let’s say that it’s going to be a 12-person jury trial, I’m assuming more than 12 people show up for jury duty or do just 12 people show up and you go with them?

Kassi Rigney – No. And, I don’t know how many the jury pool in Marion County pulls on any given day where juries are scheduled, but I believe they send about 40 perspectives out to each court. And that’s kind of where they start. Individuals who are struck from one court may have to go and report to another court. But, there have been times, at least in Marion County, where they did not have enough jurors.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. That happened to me actually in a trial I prosecuted. I had an aggravated battery case. It was a pretty serious one. The defendant, I don’t have to say allegedly, because he was convicted, but the defendant opened fire with a a SKS on a group of people on Illinois Street at about 5 p.m., and shot from across the street. So, the bullets were literally crossing the street, in front of traffic, and shot three people. And I had that set for trial. I don’t remember the date anymore, but it was the Monday after the Colts first super bowl appearance since they’d been in Indianapolis. It was 2007 or or something. I think it was the 2007 Super Bowl. Colts and Bears. So, literally everyone in the city was watching the super bowl, and you know that thing starts at like seven or eight and ends at like midnight or one in the morning. And who knows for the partying, especially in Indianapolis. It was crazy here because we won, and I had a jury in the morning. I think 12 or 14 people showed up for all the juries Marion County had that day. And, I think mine ended up being the only one.

Teri Ulm – That went forward?

Jacob Rigney – Every other prosecutor was probably like: “I gotta get this jury off my calendar somehow”, right. But, 2007 Jake Rigney was like: “Oh. This is my job. I better do it.” So, I was ready to go. We did not have enough jurors. I think it was 12 or 14 showed up. Four or five of them put on their questionnaire: “I can’t be fair and impartial”. We did not impanel a jury. We ended up having to continue that trial.

Jury Selection in Indiana

Teri Ulm – So, talking a little bit about how the jury is selected. Say you have more than your 12 that show up. Say 14 come into your courtroom. Do you have the opportunity to question them and select who’s on your jury?

Kassi Rigney – Absolutely. You do now. And something to keep in mind, we are going to speak from our experience in Marion County. I don’t think either one of us have tried a case outside of Marion County. We’ll try and draw distinctions. Marion County does their trials very fast. In Marion County, you would be handed your juror  questionnaires, which is front and back questionnaire, maybe 15 minutes before those 40 people walk into the room. They would be broken up into groups of 14, and you do rounds in 14. Both sides get 20 minutes per round, and you talk. And it’s really it’s a gut feeling. You get, what a minute to review each questionnaire, and then you’re asking people questions. The reason why that’s different in other counties, you may get the questionnaires a week in advance. And, those people they’re looking at Facebook pages. They’re running background checks on their own, and things like that trying to figure out who do they know in town and what connections they have. And that’s not a reality that you have practicing in Marion County. I think the theory is the same, but there’s a wide variance between your ability to put those goals and things to practice.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. In Marion County, I don’t want to say that you’re just kind of winging it, but because you’re not just wigging it. You know all sorts of things from experience of having done it. But you don’t get a lot of time to look into all these folks. You just kind of draw what conclusions you can from what’s on the questionnaires, and then if you’re still on the fence about them, you ask them some questions, and try to figure out where they fall on a particular issue. And you go from there. Sometimes when you look at the questionnaires, you know. Like I already know this person is either going to be fine for me or this person I’m going to strike this person. But there’s a lot of potential jurors that just don’t put a lot of interesting stuff on their questionnaires. Not every person is like this crazy interesting person who’s lived the wild and crazy life. A lot of people are just like: “I’m an electrician. I fix things that run on electricity. Yeah. If the state proves it, I’ll find him guilty. No. If the state doesn’t prove it, I won’t fight. I’ll find him not guilty.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. That’s not very insightful.

Jacob Rigney – Right. How are you going to vote on it. I don’t know. And you can’t ask them how they’re going to vote on your case anyway, because they don’t know. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being not  interesting. Most days, I wish my life was less interesting. But it can make for difficult jury selection when you don’t know what to ask. Sometimes I just start asking about their personal life. So how long have you been an  electrician? Do you like it? Yeah. And then sometimes the way they respond to those questions gives you an idea of a little bit more about what kind of person they are.

Teri Ulm – So, what if you don’t like any of the potential jurors? Can you strike them all or is there a limit to the number that you can?

Kassi Rigney – You’ve got a limit. You got to pick. On the major felonies you get 10. Each side gets 10, and those are preemptory challenges. You can do those for any reasons as long as they don’t violate core constitutional protections. For instance, you can’t go in and strike every black potential juror. And those are rights of the juror not to be discriminated against. But then, there are four cause challenges. For instance, if you were a victim of a child molest, and you said look. You’re potentially on a child molest, I can’t be fair. That person could likely be struck for cause. And then neither party would have to use one of their strikes. They don’t fit. So, nobody has to use a strike.

Jury Instructions in Indiana

Teri Ulm – So, after your jury is selected what comes next?

Kassi Rigney – Instructions.

Teri Ulm – And who are those instructions to you, and what do they say?

Kassi Rigney – Well, the jury instructions are the instructions to the jury on what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen, and how some points of the law are included. But they’re instructions for the jury. It’s the jury’s guide on what they’re going to do. Many people have never been there. What would you do? Well, your guide are the jury instructions.

Jacob Rigney – Typically after after jury selection, lunch is often the very next thing, but then instructions. Yeah. And then opening statements.

Teri Ulm – Who’s instructing the jury? Is it the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge?

Kassi Rigney – The judge reads the instructions. One of the things I guess we didn’t go over, maybe so exciting, pre-trial motions and instructions. And these are things that are done outside of the jury. It’s where we decide the final decisions about what evidence the jury will actually ever see and hear. You fight that out, but instructions. They have pattern instructions: this case, this type of case has standard set of instructions. And then the attorneys get to submit proposed instructions on issues that they think need to be addressed specially.  Now you don’t get submit whatever you want and it goes. There’s a process for the other party to respond, and there can be argument on them. But as always, the judge is the final decision maker.

Teri Ulm – Could you give us an example of an instruction?

Kassi Rigney – Well they’ll give you the definition of a reasonable doubt as one of the big things in Indiana, because I’ve heard other states, they will not give you. This all comes down to, have you proven this person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In Indiana, they will give you a written definition of that. In other states, I’m told that you’re not. And then those people not only have to figure out what evidence is credible, do we believe these witness or not, then they also have to figure out what really is the standard. What is enough.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. The Indiana instructions on what beyond a reasonable doubt means or I don’t want to call them funny, because it’s not really funny, but it is like a four or five sentence statement that is just lawyered the crap out of. So, they start with you have to be firmly convinced of the defendant’s guilt, because there are almost nothing that you know to a certainty, and the state doesn’t have to prove it to a certainty. But, on the other hand, they do have to prove it more than probably. And so it, I don’t know how many jurors would be confused before they read it, and I don’t know how many of them are still confused after they’ve read it. It doesn’t really come up a lot when I’ve talked to jurors afterward. But, we give them this explanation. Does it help? I don’t know. Maybe.

Teri Ulm – So, after the instructions and lunch.

Jacob Rigney – Lunch is important, especially when you skip breakfast.

Opening Statements in Criminal Trials in Indiana

Teri Ulm – Yes. Then we go to opening statements. Who’s up first? Is that the state? Is the the defense?

Jacob Rigney – The prosecution goes first in opening, and then the defense follows. If they choose, the defendant doesn’t have to give an opening statement, technically. The state doesn’t either. It’s rare for a lawyer to ever take the opportunity to not talk.

Teri Ulm – Right.

Jacob Rigney – So, it’s really rare that they pass on opening statement, but it has happened. And, you can kind of say, especially the defense can kind of say, whatever they want, because a lot of times they’re not presenting a lot of evidence. So, there’s not really a lot of evidence for them to preview which is typically the purpose of opening statement. It’s to explain to the jurors what they should expect to see over the rest of the trial. So as a defense attorney, it depends on what your what kind of case you have, but you can a lot of times, there’s not a lot of evidence to preview. And so you just sort of say: “pay close attention please” or something similar to that.

Who Takes the Stand During a Criminal Trial in Indiana?

Teri Ulm – Who would take the stand to testify at a criminal trial?

Kassi Rigney – Witnesses. Any witness that has relevant information and is deemed competent. Generally a police officer is one witness in almost anything from you know a traffic ticket up to the highest felony. If there’s a civilian victim, you would need to produce that person.

Do Police Show Up for Court?

Teri Ulm – Do police typically show up for trials and court?

Jacob Rigney – Typically, yes. The only time when a victim doesn’t show up for the trial is when they’re dead.

Teri Ulm – That would make sense.

Jacob Rigney – They don’t bring the dead body into court, in case you’re wondering about that. The police usually appear when subpoenaed. I’m not going to say that they always do, because they don’t always. But usually they do. And the more serious the case, the more likely they are to show up.

Can the Prosecutor Call the Defendant to the Stand as a Witness?

Teri Ulm – Can the prosecutor call the defendant to the stand?

Kassi Rigney – No. That’s your right to remain silent. That is your right through, from the investigation through trial.

Does Questioning a Witness in an Indiana Criminal Trial Ever Look Like the Scene from A Few Good Men?

Teri Ulm – Now how does questioning the witness look? Does it ever look like the scene from the movie A Few Good Men where the prosecutor is yelling at the witness on the stand, and the witness yells back: you can’t handle the truth:. Does it ever look like that?

Kassi Rigney – Maybe. You mixed up your movie.

Jacob Rigney – She didn’t, but she mixed up the roles. Tom Cruise is not the prosecutor in A Few Good Men.

Kassi Rigney – She said 12 Angry Men. Did I mix it up?

Teri Ulm – I mentioned 12 Angry Men earlier. Here I said A Few Good Men.

Kassi Rigney – All right. Okay. My bad.

Jacob Rigney – Tom Cruise is the defense attorney in A Few Good Men. He is defending the two marines, the underlings, who allegedly I should say allegedly, who executed the code red. And then the argument Tom Cruise’s argument was that Jack Nicholson ordered them to do the code red, and so they were just following orders. Tom Cruise is literally putting forward that I was just following orders defense in that trial, which is a terrible defense by the way. But he was cross-examining a witness that I believe he called, because the prosecution didn’t call that  witness. But, he was trying to prove that the officers superiors ordered them to do that, and Nicholson did not want to admit it. And then eventually he did admit it. But, in the classroom: “You’re god damn right I ordered it”. Does it ever look like that? I mean a little maybe. It can. It typically does not. It is typically a much more subdued situation. Witnesses are usually prepared for these types of events, and it’s usually explained to them that acting the way that Jack Nicholson acts in A Few Good Men is a very bad idea. And the reason it’s a bad idea is because when you’re all riled up and angry, you say shit that you shouldn’t say. So, I think typically lawyers for both sides will instruct their witnesses, it doesn’t matter what kind of tone the other lawyer takes with you. It doesn’t matter how they act. They might act like they don’t like you. They may act like a smart ass. They may insult you. They may be demeaning.  Ignore the tone, and answer the question, and you’ll get off the stand quicker. That’s usually a big selling point for witnesses. It does not happen very often. I’m not going to say it’s never happened, because I think it has.

What Does Being Held in Contempt of Court Look Like?

Teri Ulm – But if someone yells like that, like they did in that movie scene, could they be held in contempt and what does being held in contempt look like? Are you taken off to jail or are you slapped with a fine?

Kassi Rigney – Well, I mean there’s not going to be a bright line. It’s kind of one’s going to depend. It’s the  judge. And, each judge, I’ve ever been in front of, are going to take each situation on its own. And, what they may tolerate in a traffic ticket trial and what they might tolerate in a child molest or a rape or something would be different. You want to keep the decorum, but most judges understand these are highly emotional and you may get a warning or kicked out. You can be found in contempt, and if you’re actually found in contempt, you can do six months without credit. Up to six months or is it 90 days.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. I think it’s more, but the contempt rules in Indiana are weird, and they aren’t used very often. I think you can get up to a year. Just the judge can just point at you and say you’re in contempt of court, and he can give you up to a year.

Teri Ulm – On the spot? Right there?

Kassi Rigney – No credit time. Yeah.

Teri Ulm – Bailiff comes and gets you, cuffs you, you’re off behind bars for a year?

Jacob Rigney – The  bailiffs typically don’t have handcuffs. It would be a deputy, but yeah. Yes, and they take you into the back and process you in from from there after they take you through the tunnel under the City County building over to the jail. But, you can be punished even worse than that. But, when you get to felony level, punishments, you have the right to a trial. So, then you have to get accused, and the judge has to empanel a jury, and they have to call witnesses to determine so that a judge can or so that a jury can determine whether you’re in contempt or not. And there’s also a difference between direct contempt, which is what you’re talking about. Where you’re in the courtroom and you’re doing something you’re not supposed to do. And, indirect contempt of court which is, for example, not obeying a subpoena or something else like that. And the standard of proof and the requirements for evidence are different depending on which one you’re using too. Because it’s all on the record when when the judge is just pointing at you, right. So, typically everyone can hear what the person did and it’s easily reviewable. But in direct contempt, where you’re out in the world somewhere and you’re not responding to the judge, there might be innocent explanations for that. So, there are more procedural safeguards in that situation.

How Long Does A Criminal Trial Last in Indiana?

Teri Ulm – How long does the typical criminal trial last? I’m sure it depends on what type of case it is and…

Kassi Rigney – Type of case, and again in Indiana, jurisdiction. Regularly, Marion County will knock out jury trials in one day. Murder might take up to a week, but Jake can speak more on that.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. So, it’s very different depending on the type of case. And there are even some other factors. So, I don’t think anybody does a murder case in one day anymore, and probably not an attempt murder case either. Although I might have done one that only lasted a day before I left the prosecutor’s office, but it was real simple. It was like on video. I don’t remember whether that went one or two, but most cases that are a level three or below maybe tried in a day, but often go two days. Murder cases can run anywhere from two to three, four, five days. But, the reality is, there is no limit. There is no sort of hard stop the state has to stop presenting evidence. There’s no rule like that. So, like the David Bassard case in Fort Wayne, that trial took six weeks or two months.

Teri Ulm – Wow.

Jacob Rigney – And, there have been federal cases that have gone on even longer than that. Just months sometimes. There was even a, I think there’s a movie. A Vin Diesel movie about one. I think it was called Find Me Guilty, where Vin Diesel plays a guy who represented himself in a a big mafia trial with like 30 defendants or something. So, 30 different lawyers get to cross-examine every witness, and it takes forever. And, that trial probably took months.

Is There A Time Limit for the Jury to Deliberate?

Teri Ulm – Is there a time limit for the jury to deliberate?

Kassi Rigney – There’s not a hard time limit. Again, a judge and his or her experience and wisdom, will know when communicating with them, when they’re going to call it for a hung jury. If they can’t meet, it’s not necessarily  uncommon the jurors will come back and say they can’t reach a verdict, but be sent back to continue deliberating. And that’s one of those things. Yeah. You may have been here for a day, and he’s sitting for four hours. Well, maybe if this is a complicated case, that’s been pending for a year, and a half jury’s…. The judge isn’t going to call a do-over, because you guys think you’re done in four hours. It’s hard work, and the judge will put your feet to the fire to try and hash it out. And if it can be done, they want it done.

What Happens in a Criminal Case if There is a Hung Jury?

Teri Ulm – So, I think, Jake, you mentioned a hung jury earlier in this podcast. If there is a hung jury, you said that the trial starts over?

Jacob Rigney – Right. So, when the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, a mistrial is declared. Essentially, once the judge determines that the jury is hopelessly deadlocked, they’re just never going to agree, and so then the judge resets it for trial again. There are probably judges in Marion County who could turn that around and restart the trial the next day. Typically, it just gets reset in due course in a month or two, and try it again.

What Happens After the Jury Reaches their Verdict?

Teri Ulm – So, what happens after the jury reaches their verdict?

Kassi Rigney – They let someone know. And then the verdict, everybody gets brought back and the verdict gets brought in and handed to the judge. I think Jake talked about it before. Nobody knows what happens in the deliberations. No one knows what the verdict is until it’s read in open court. When everybody is there.

Jacob Rigney – Right. So in the trial, the state and the defense will call a series of witnesses. The defense doesn’t have to call anyone. So, after all the witnesses have been called, both parties do closing arguments. Closing arguments in Indiana are a little bit tricky, because the state gets to go first and last. They’re granted that because they have the  burden of proof. So, they get the final word in the trial about what’s happened. After closing arguments, there is final instructions. Final instructions are another series of instructions about essentially what the jury should do during deliberation, and reminding them about what the elements of the offenses are, and things like that. After that, a bailiff is sworn, and the bailiff (who is not a guy with a badge and a gun but is sort of a normal a person wearing normal clothes) swears an oath to keep the jury sequestered. To not let anyone communicate with them other than the bailiff. And, the bailiffs' job is to communicate the jury’s messages to the judge. Then the judge will disseminate them to the lawyers for the parties. So, the jurors retire to the the jury room. They have a little button that they can push which is a buzzer. And when they push it, the bailiff has to go find out what they want. Sometimes they have questions. If they have questions, they’ll be instructed, usually, to write them down so that the judge can then show it to the lawyers and keep it as part of the record. Then sometimes the jury buzzes and says we have a verdict or says we’re not going to reach a verdict. We will not agree. And that can take… Yeah. I’ve had to go into the second, into another day before, where the judge sends them home and has them come back to keep deliberating.

Teri Ulm – Do they go to their homes, and are they like…. couldn’t they talk to anybody if they go to their homes? Are they sworn you can’t say anything?

Jacob Rigney – They are. That’s what happens. They are allowed to go home, unless they’ve been sequestered. And that does not typically happen. It could happen with media cases, but typically the jury is free to go home. They are ordered by the judge not to discuss the case with anyone, and not discuss the status of deliberations with anyone. Then they come back and they keep going.

Kassi Rigney – It”s one of those things that I’ve found, through my jury experiences, that when people are there, and they’re selected for the responsibility, it’s really impressed on them the power of the court. And the power that’s in their hands. They have to raise their hand and swear to the court that they’re going to honor those. And most people do. Most people do. Even if going in they say I don’t want to judge someone, or I don’t want to be here. Or, I have this. When you go through the process, I think most people stand up and do what’s right.

Can a Jury Ask to See the Evidence During Deliberations?

Teri Ulm – Can a jury ask to see evidence?

Jacob Rigney – They can. And in fact, sometimes the judge just sends the exhibits back with the jury so that they can look at them if they want to. Sometimes they don’t though, and some judges categorically refused to send the exhibits back for any reason. Sometimes the judge will allow for you to set the exhibits back up in the courtroom, and have the jury walk through and look at them again. If they have questions about what something shows. One thing they usually do is make sure to keep the firearms away from the ammo.

Teri Ulm – That’s smart.

Jacob Rigney – Because look, firearms get admitted into evidence, and the ammo does too sometimes. But, they  always want to keep them both away, because tensions can run hot during jury select or during jury deliberations. And, people disagree angrily sometimes about different aspects of a trial. And the last thing you want is somebody turning something into a murder weapon again.

Teri Ulm – Right.

Jacob Rigney – Because that would be a logistical nightmare. How to make it an exhibit in two different trials?

What Happens After the Jury Verdict in a Criminal Trial in Indiana?

Teri Ulm – Now if a defendant is not found guilty, what happens to that person?

Kassi Rigney – He’d be brought back to the jail and processed out.

What Happens if a Defendant is Found Guilty at a Trial?

Teri Ulm – And, if a defendant is found guilty is the jury sentencing the defendant.

Jacob Rigney – No. If the defendant is found guilty, the case is typically set for a sentencing hearing, and the judge decides what the sentence will be. Unless it’s a death penalty case. In a death penalty case, there the jury reconvenes and hears additional evidence to determine whether the death penalty should be imposed or not. But in all other types of cases, including regular murder, it’s the judge that issues a sentence. And it’s usually not the same day. It could be for misdemeanors, but even the last misdemeanor jury I did, they set it out for sentencing on a different day.

Teri Ulm – So, that wraps up the trial aspect of this. Do you agree or did I miss??

Jacob Rigney – No. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

Teri Ulm – It did sound pretty easy.

Jacob Rigney – We explained it all in like 40 minutes.

The Jury Can Question the Witnesses on the Stand in a Criminal Trial in Indiana.

Kassi Rigney – Well, one fun thing we didn’t talk about, and I say fun because I like juror questions.

Jacob Rigney – Nothing is fun. Nothing is fun about this job. Nothing.

Kassi Rigney – A lot of lawyers hate them.

Jacob Rigney – Nothing.

Kassi Rigney – One of the things in Indiana, and this is a quote unquote new thing. This was new when I was a very young attorney. So, I don’t have experience with jurors not being able to ask questions, but during the trial, the state questions, defense questions, and when the lawyers are done, they’ll say: “jurors do you have any questions”?

Teri Ulm – For the person on the stand?

Kassi Rigney – Correct.

Jacob Rigney – Absolutely.

Kassi Rigney – Those written questions are submitted to the judge. The lawyers get to look at them. We decide whether is it an appropriate question, because sometimes they ask questions that we cannot as lawyers. We didn’t ask because the rules don’t allow it . I always try to read into those and gauge where is the jury’s head at. Now the other thing, where they can inquire during deliberations, as well. And you could be brought back to re-argue an issue while the jury is deliberating.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. That that happened. I’ve done that, actually. I did that on my first or second major felony jury trial. And this is why I don’t drink during deliberations.

Teri Ulm – Do you drink during opening statements?

Jacob Rigney – No. But here’s the thing. That there’s this sort of old well-worn, I don’t know if it’s a tradition, but it’s a perception, that if the the attorneys and the judge all like each other, they’re all being civil, they’re all doing their jobs, and then while the jury deliberates, they all go have a drink while they wait. The judge, the defense  attorney, the prosecutor, they all go have a drink together. But, I do not drink while I’m waiting for a verdict, because the judge could make me argue some more, and I do not want to be going in front of the the jury with any booze on my breath. Now, I don’t drink anymore anyway. I quit drinking like a year ago. But, even when I was drinking, I did not drink while I was waiting for deliberate for the jury to come back with a verdict. Because of that.

Naked Florida Man Knocking on Window of 7 Year Old in Middle of the Night

Teri Ulm – Interesting. So we are now going to interrupt this episode and bring you the latest Florida Man news. Daily News reports that naked Florida Man, he’s naked again.

Kassi Rigney – It’s hot down there.

Jacob Rigney – It is hot and things get sticky.

Teri Ulm – Naked Florida Man was caught on video knocking on a seven-year-old’s window in the middle of the night, on numerous occasions.

Jacob Rigney – This guy is going to get tased.

Kassi Rigney – Well, probably deserves more, right?

Teri Ulm – The parents of the young Florida Girl got a disturbing surprise after they installed a security camera. They learned that a naked neighbor was trespassing on their property almost every night and was repeatedly knocking on their seven-year-old’s bedroom window. Florida Man, who’s 50 he, was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking and trespassing. The girl’s parents became suspicious that someone had been on their property earlier in the month, and they decided to install some security cameras outside. The cameras captured the pervert calmly walking around the property, knocking on the child’s bedroom window, on at least three separate nights the week they  installed the camera. Florida Man, who is described as a professional nudist, even removed….

Jacob Rigney – Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. One does not simply say professional nudist and then move on. I don’t know what’s the news story.

Kassi Rigney – What does that mean?

Jacob Rigney – Who pays him to be nude? How does one become a professional nudist?

Teri Ulm – Maybe the professionalism came with the fact that he does it often, and he does it calmly, and with confidence.

Jacob Rigney – Is he certified? Do you need an associates for that? Is there an exam you have to take?

Teri Ulm – I think it’s a self…

Jacob Rigney – Are there re-certification procedures for becoming a professional nudist? Do you have continuing nudist  education. I have a lot of questions about professional nudism.

Kassi Rigney – He’s a pervert and he’s simply trying to legitimize it. Is it.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. Well, the self-proclaimed professional nudist even removed the screen from the window.

Jacob Rigney – Welcome to my nightmares. This is all I’m going to dream about for the next four days.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. Now the sheriff praised the child’s parents for taking it upon themselves to catch their creepy neighbor. But the sheriff said things would have ended up differently if it was his daughter’s window being knocked on.

Jacob Rigney – No shit.

Teri Ulm – He doesn’t think the guy would end up being arrested. He would have been lucky.

Jacob Rigney – No. He would have gone to the morgue.

Teri Ulm – Right.

Kassi Rigney – That’s the kind of thing that’s I think there would be a lot of jurors that that wouldn’t have a lot of heartburn if alternative actions were taken. I don’t feel like I’d have much heartburn if an alternative choice was made by those parents.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. It’s one of those weird things, right. Because and I know I say that phrase probably in every podcast, but you expect that criminal defense attorneys are going to get on a podcast and they’re going to hear a story like this, and they’re gonna say: Well, remember you have to presume that he’s innocent. Just because the parents say it’s on video doesn’t mean that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Look. We’re reasonable human beings. We do not want people in any community walking around naked and banging on seven-year-old girls windows. That’s not why we do this job. It’s not so that we can… okay or boys, either one. We don’t do this job because we want to help dudes like that get away with it. That’s not that. We do this job because the Constitution says that everyone has the right to a defense, and if we don’t honor it for everyone then we’re not honoring the Constitution. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the naked guy banging on the window. But, we’re not his attorney. Most of the people out there, including like 100 percent of my clients that I actually represent, they don’t want that guy around either. Most of them have daughters.

Teri Ulm – Right.

Jacob Rigney – They’re not mad at us right now for saying: hope he goes to jail. So we’re not losing it. It’s not like we’re gonna lose clients because we want the pervy guy who’s naked and banging on windows to go to jail. Everybody wants that. It’s not controversial.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. So, Florida Man, he was released on bond but authorities said that there was a restraining order issued prohibiting him from stepping on his neighbor’s property. Like a restraining order against the person that lives in next door? That’s too close. How’s that?

Jacob Rigney – Well, look. He has property, so you tell him he can’t live on his own property, you’re essentially taking his property away from him. At the same time it is feasible that you could live next door and have no contact. I’ve had neighbors that I barely met or didn’t really know. So, it’s potentially workable.

Kassi Rigney – Well, in Indiana I don’t think that would get you a thousand foot restriction, but there are distance requirements that come along with sex crimes. So in this, it doesn’t sound like there’s physical contact, But, I’m not familiar with Florida’s laws. That’s what post-conviction, you would expect that distances could make somebody move or whether they don’t have to sell their property. But they could say you can no longer reside in the house, because it’s too close to the victim.

Jacob Rigney – Yeah. In Indiana there are rules like that, especially for rape and child molest. So, in that situation he’d have to move after his conviction.

Kassi Rigney – But that’s the difference between pre-trial and post-conviction. Because he retains the presumption of innocence and he gets the no contact or order pre-conviction but then it could be a different world once he is  convicted.

Teri Ulm – I might put up an electric fence.

Jacob Rigney – Well, I don’t know if you do everyone a favor and put a sign on it that says what it is because some people try to climb it.

Three Florida Men Burglarize Over 30 Homes With GPS Ankle Monitors On

Teri Ulm – So the Sun Sentinel reports that three Florida Men are behind bars for burglarizing over 30 homes, and it couldn’t have been easier to find them. Why? Because they carried out the crimes while wearing ankle devices.

Jacob Rigney – Right. They’re on monitoring while they’re doing it.

Teri Ulm – Yeah. The three Florida Men committed these crimes already on pre-trial release for previous crimes, and they were out wearing court-ordered gps ankle monitors.

Kassi Rigney – This is not confined to the brilliance of Florida criminals. I remember being a prosecutor and being privy to an in initial hearing on a gentleman and the judge actually turned his chair around so he you couldn’t tell he was laughing. But he was not audibly laughing because the gentleman stole a functioning gps unit. Now it was alleged to have cost about sixty thousand dollars so that’s why he took it. But of course when he was gone they just looked at it and then went and got him.

Teri Ulm – Oh my gosh.

Kassi Rigney – Was it what? Cocaine’s a powerful drug.

Jacob Rigney – Right. The trial I mentioned earlier, the attempt murder that we might have gotten done in one day, that defendant was on electronic monitoring. And he went to a strip club, and saw somebody he didn’t like there, and tried to shoot him in the park, and did shoot him, but didn’t kill him in the parking lot. He also… This strip club has had so many problems, they make everyone present their id to a security camera. Like so they put it under a camera before they’ll let him in. So we had him there ahead of time, providing his id. Plus we had the tracking from his ankle bracelet showing that he was there, and then he left ,and then he came back, and then he left again very quickly. Yeah. You get mad, and you don’t think.

Teri Ulm – Right.

Kassi Rigney – And nobody does these things with the thought that they’re going to get caught. They’re acting in the heat of the moment. The high emotion. Sometimes people are just downright dumb. But usually there’s some contributing factors to that as well.

Teri Ulm – That’s all the time we have for today.

Jacob Rigney – All right. Thanks. Teri. And thank you listeners for listening to Tales from the Brown Desk. Please remember, while we may discuss legal issues and provide information regarding the law to our listeners, we do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any listener. Our advice may not be applicable to some legal issues. Please consult with an attorney you have hired to review your legal situation before you attempt to apply the things we have said to your case. Also you can ask us questions. Just email Teri. That’s [email protected], and entitle your email: Podcast Question, and we’ll read it on our next podcast. Unless we start getting too many questions, and then we’ll just read the good ones. Obviously we never get more than one question a week, and that’s okay. Shout out to Fort Wayne though. Thanks for the question, bro. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Buzzsprout says we have 17 listeners.

Kassi Rigney – What?

Teri Ulm – What happened?

Jacob Rigney – Our ratings are plummeting.

Kassi Rigney – What are our European listeners?

Jacob Rigney – I  think France is holding on.

Kassi Rigney – Thank you, France. We need you.

Jacob Rigney – Israel is gone.

Kassi Rigney – Oh was that an accident?

Jacob Rigney – Montreal, Quebec, gone. Sakurai blew. Boardman, Oregon, still there. Washington, Virginia, who I’m  pretty sure is Kassi’s sister. Also still there. We do have a new listener, I think from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Probably a relative of mine. That’s where my dad was born. Seriously, someone give me some water. Water. Water. There we go. That’s it. The attorneys at Rigney Law do not comment on their current pending cases. Nothing we have said in this podcast is a comment on a case we are currently working on, even if your name is Chad or you love QAnon conspiracies. Okay. Bye.