Appeal from the Lake Superior Court, The Honorable James Kimbrough, Judge, Cause No. 3CR-203-1285-804
Staton, J., Ratliff, C. J., Hoffman, J., Concur.
Jose M. Rentas was convicted by a jury of dealing in a narcotic drug,[Footnote 1] a class B felony. He was sentenced to a term of eight years, with four years suspended. Upon his release, he is to be given two years' probation.[Footnote 2] Rentas raises two issues on review. Restated, they are:
1. Whether he was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel.
2. Whether the trial court abused its discretion by failing to declare a mistrial during the State's questioning of Police Officer Horvath.[Footnote 3]
During the redirect examination of State's witness, Officer Horvath, the following exchange was made:
Q. Mr. Randolph made a big deal about it was your idea or the three officers' idea to go after this person, do you just pick anybody on the street, Officer?
Objection, Your Honor, that's an open ended question.
It was answered in one word. No maam was his response. Put your next question.
Q. Officer, how was it that you came to determine or to select Jose Rentas in order, or why was he a target on that particular day?
A. He's a known drug dealer to us.
Objection, Your Honor. Your Honor, that's prejudicial information. Based upon that, Your Honor, I move for a mistrial.
The objection is sustained. The Motion for Mistrial is denied. The jury will disregard the last answer. It is a Conclusion.
Q. However, you did not just go point to anybody and decide ...