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Fitzgerald v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 12, 2015

Jeremy Fitzgerald, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Sheila A. Carlisle, Judge. The Honorable Stanley Kroh, Magistrate. Case No. 49G03-1404-FB-20344.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Matthew D. Anglemeyer, Marion County Public Defender, Appellate Division, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Ian McLean, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bradford, Judge. Najam, J., and Mathias, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 106

Bradford, Judge.

Case Summary

[¶ 1] On April 19, 2014, Melanie Jones and her friend Appellant-Defendant Jeremy Fitzgerald staged a fake robbery in an apparent attempt to conceal Jones's theft of money from her employer. According to the scheme concocted by Jones, Fitzgerald would run from Jones's vehicle and Jones would act as if she had been robbed. Jones would then claim to be unable to identify the perpetrator. The scheme, however, did not go as planned because a Good Samaritan, Matthew Bingham, intervened in an attempt to thwart the apparent robbery. Bingham chased after and ultimately detained Fitzgerald until police caught up with the men and placed Fitzgerald under arrest. Appellee-Plaintiff the State of Indiana (the " State" ) subsequently charged Fitzgerald with Class C felony intimidation for actions committed by Fitzgerald against Bingham once Bingham had detained him.

[¶ 2] On appeal, Fitzgerald challenges his conviction claiming that the detainment of him by Bingham did not amount to a lawful " citizen's arrest" and, as such, he was entitled to employ reasonable force to defend himself against the unlawful detention. Fitzgerald further challenges his conviction claiming that the State failed to disprove his self-defense claim. Upon review, we conclude that the detainment of Fitzgerald by Bingham did not amount to a lawful " citizen's arrest." However, we further conclude that the State presented sufficient evidence to disprove Fitzgerald's self-defense claim. As such, we affirm Fitzgerald's conviction for Class C felony intimidation.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶ 3] As Bingham exited the CVS store located at the corner of 16th Street and Meridian Streets in Indianapolis on April

Page 107

19, 2014, he " heard a girl yelp." Tr. p. 22. Bingham looked toward the direction of the sound and saw a woman's feet " hanging out of the driver's seat" of a black sports utility vehicle (" SUV" ). Tr. p. 22. Bingham also saw a man, who was later identified as Fitzgerald, run away from the SUV. Bingham approached the SUV and asked the woman, who was later identified as Jones, if she was okay. Bingham observed that Jones appeared to have been sprayed in the face with pepper spray. Jones " muttered some stuff" and said that Fitzgerald " took her bag." Tr. p. 28.

[¶ 4] After speaking to Jones, Bingham began to run after Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald soon realized that he was being chased by Bingham. Upon making this realization, Fitzgerald continued to run. At some point during the chase, the men scaled a wrought iron fence. Bingham continued to chase Fitzgerald for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. Eventually, Fitzgerald became " backed up into a corner." Tr. p. 40.

[¶ 5] Fitzgerald then turned toward Bingham, pulled a knife out of his pocket, and told Bingham to " get the f*** away from me" and " it's not what you think." Tr. p. 82. At the time, Bingham was five or six feet from Fitzgerald. After observing the knife, Bingham retreated to a distance of approximately eight to ten feet from Fitzgerald. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Kollin Anslow subsequently arrived at the scene and placed Fitzgerald under arrest.

[¶ 6] Jones, whose eyes had swollen shut after being sprayed in the face with pepper spray, was transported to Methodist Hospital after complaining that she was experiencing difficulty breathing. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective Gregory Scheid, the lead detective charged with investigating the alleged robbery, spoke to Jones at Methodist Hospital. Detective Scheid showed Jones a photo array ...


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