APPEAL FROM THE ST. JOSEPH SUPERIOR COURT, The Honorable Jeanne J. Swartz, Judge, Cause No. 25859.
Garrard, P.j., Ratliff, C.j. and Staton, J. Concur.
Following a jury trial Wanda Ryans was convicted of five counts of theft. The court elected to treat the convictions as misdemeanors and sentenced her to one year on each count with the sentences to be served concurrently. She appeals challenging a ruling during her cross-examination of one witness and the sufficiency of the evidence.
The facts taken in the light most favorable to the verdict disclose the following information.
On June 17, 1986 Ryans possessed five check which were payable to her and were drawn on the account of Judy Warren at St. Joseph Bank & Trust Co. All of the checks were dated that day. The account upon which they were drawn had been opened in 1978 and closed by the bank on March 26, 1981.
Ryans deposited one of these checks at each of five branches of Valley American Bank on June 17th. In each instance she secured fifty dollars in cash from the amount of the check and had the balance deposited in her account. Over the next two days she withdrew the balance of her deposits. The checks, of course, were dishonored, account closed.
During the subsequent police investigation Officer Richard Bonne went to a Judy Warren's residence where he located two women. One of them was Ryans but she identified herself as Deanne Warren and told the officer Judy Warren was at a different address. That, also, proved untrue.
At trial Ryans testified. She told the jury that she had no knowledge that the checks were not good and that she had given the money to Judy Warren.
Indeed, her present challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is simply that it fails to establish any reasonable inference that she knew the checks were no good. We disagree. The fact we have recited coupled with the absence of any reasonable explanation as to why Ryans' friend chose to write five checks rather than one or why Ryans went to the trouble to deposit then at five different branch locations taking only a small portion in returned cash at each clearly support the inference that she was engaged in a scheme of theft. Her challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence fails.
Her other contention addresses a ruling by the trial court during her cross-examination of Officer Bonne, who had also taken a statement from her at the police station.
During the direct examination of Bonne the state elicited from him that during his conversation with Ryans she admitted cashing the checks, making the various deposits, and withdrawing the balance shortly thereafter. He also testified that she explained that she had given him a false name because she was going through a divorce and thought her estranged husband may have sent someone to find her.
Upon cross-examination Bonne was asked, "Did Mrs. Ryans tell you that she knew these checks were written on a closed account?" The state objected and after hearing argument the court sustained the objection. Ryans contends this was error because once the state went into the conversation she was entitled to have the jury consider all of it. The state contends the objection was properly sustained because it called for a self serving hearsay declaration.
Our Supreme Court was evenly divided in a recent decision concerning the rule to be applied when a party seeks to cross-examine concerning the balance of a statement that has been partially introduced on direct examination. Duff v. State (1987), Ind., 508 N.E.2d 17 (Shepard, C.J. not participating). Accordingly, ...