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Cameron v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 10, 2014

ALEXIS CAMERON, Appellant-Defendant,
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Helen Marchal, Judge. Cause No. 49G16-1311-FD-76083.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DAVID BECSEY, Zeigler Cohen & Koch, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, ERIC P. BABBS, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

CRONE, Judge. RILEY, J., and MATHIAS, J., concur.


Page 589

CRONE, Judge

Case Summary

Alexis Cameron appeals his conviction for class D felony domestic battery, arguing that the prosecutor committed fundamental error by violating his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. We conclude that the prosecutor's questions and comments were an appropriate response to defense counsel's questions and argument. Finding no error, let alone fundamental error, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

Cameron lived with Shirley Carson and her four children in Indianapolis. Cameron and Carson had dated for two years and had lived together eight or nine months, sharing expenses and child care responsibilities. One evening, Cameron woke up Carson and asked her for ten dollars. She refused, and he became angry. He yelled and screamed at her. He spat on her, and she realized that he had been drinking. He stepped on her bare feet, twisting his shoe into her skin, which hurt. He scratched her on the face and chest, causing her pain. Carson suffered a bloody scratch on her chest several inches long. Carson tried to push Cameron away, sustaining a bruise to her finger and an injury to her left arm. Carson's oldest daughter, A.A., witnessed the fighting and called 911.

Carson yelled at Cameron to leave, and he went to the door and opened it. Carson

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pushed him out the door and locked it. Cameron kicked the door in and reentered. He continued yelling and began throwing things, including a DVD player, a humidifier, and an iron. He went to the kitchen and poured a drink. When police lights became visible from inside the house, he threw his drink at Carson. He also threw a chair toward a couch where Carson's two-year-old daughter was sitting. The chair put a hole in the wall and broke. Carson ran out the back door before police arrived.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Ericka Daniels arrived at the scene. Carson explained what happened, and police took pictures of her injuries and the damage to the house. After the police left, Cameron returned. He eventually went to sleep, and A.A. called 911 again. Officer Daniels returned and arrested Cameron. She did not notice any injuries to Cameron, and he did not indicate that he had any. The State charged Cameron with class D felony domestic battery of Carson, class D felony battery of a family or household member (Carson), and class A misdemeanor battery of A.A.

At trial, Carson, A.A., and Officer Daniels testified. During cross-examination of Carson, defense counsel asked her whether she stabbed Cameron that night. The State objected on the grounds of relevancy and prejudice. The trial court overruled the objection, and Carson testified that she did not stab Cameron. Defense counsel asked her whether she had a knife that night, saw a knife at her house, or hid a knife. To each question, she answered, " No I didn't." Tr. at 84. Defense counsel introduced two photographs: Exhibit D, a photograph of a knife handle sticking out of a floor vent; and Exhibit E, a photograph of the tip of a knife blade sticking out from under A.A.'s mattress. The trial court admitted the exhibits over the State's objection.

During direct examination, A.A. testified that she kept a knife under her mattress because she felt unsafe at home, that neither she nor her mother wielded a knife that night, and that Cameron did not get stabbed. On cross-examination, A.A. testified that she never saw Cameron get stabbed or saw him bleeding.

Officer Daniels testified last. The prosecutor asked her whether she saw any marks on Cameron that night, whether he mentioned any injuries, and whether she saw any blood on him, to which she responded negatively. The prosecutor also questioned her as follows:

Q: When you went in to arrest [Cameron] did he say anything to you?
A: No.
Q: He didn't say anything to you? He didn't complain of ...

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