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Griffin v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 19, 2017

Stacy Lamont Griffin, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Clay Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No. 11C01-1605-F3-336 The Honorable Joseph D. Trout, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Kimberly A. Jackson Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Katherine Cooper Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Bailey, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Stacy Lamont Griffin ("Griffin") appeals his conviction for Attempted Robbery, as a Level 5 felony.[1] We affirm.

         Issues

         [¶2] Griffin presents three issues for review:

I. Whether the procedures by which the trial court conducted voir dire deprived Griffin of a fair and impartial jury;
II. Whether there is sufficient evidence of probative value to support his conviction; and
III. Whether his sentence is inappropriate.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On May 13, 2016, pharmacist Sarah Cox ("Cox") was working with two pharmacy technicians, Sara Mills ("Mills"), and Brandi Schutter ("Schutter"), in a Kroger pharmacy in Brazil, Indiana. The pharmacy employees had been warned, one day earlier, to be on high alert due to a rash of recent robberies by individuals wearing hats or hoodies.

         [¶4] Cox saw two men wearing black baseball caps in the cosmetics aisle "peeking backward" at the pharmacy. (Tr. Vol. II, pg. 114.) Each man had his face "turned back over his shoulder" and was staring. (Tr. Vol. II, pg. 124.) Mills and Schutter each observed that the men were not looking at the products for sale; rather, they appeared to be "peeping" or "peering around … staring at associates." (Tr. Vol. II, pgs. 132, 139.) Schutter walked back to the pharmacy and informed Cox that she felt as if "something really bad was about to happen." (Tr. Vol. II, pg. 139.)

         [¶5] Cox issued an intercom page for a fictitious customer to alert the store manager of a security issue. Pursuant to their training, several employees proceeded to the pharmacy and surrounded it. One employee called 9-1-1. The two men in baseball caps quickly left the store.

         [¶6] City of Brazil police officers who had been having lunch in the same retail plaza as Kroger responded immediately, and apprehended Griffin just outside the Kroger store. He was physically cooperative but initially supplied an incorrect name and birth date. A handwritten note was in Griffin's right front pants pocket. The note read:

This is a Robbery Please Corporate [sic] or I will kill you I need Tussinex [sic] Percocet 10 mg Roxicodine [sic] 10 mg 30 mg

(State's Ex. 9.)

         [¶7] Meanwhile, other officers apprehended Robert Coleman ("Coleman") as he attempted to enter a different store in the same retail plaza; he too offered a fictitious name. A customer from a nearby nail salon came forward to report that she had seen a man throw a gun into a trashcan just as she had heard officers issue commands to get down on the ground. Officers retrieved a loaded semi-automatic gun from a trash can near where Coleman was apprehended. Griffin advised one of the officers that Coleman had disposed of a gun. He also advised that Coleman had handed him the handwritten note while they were inside the Kroger store. Griffin denied reading it before pocketing it.

         [¶8] Griffin was charged with Attempted Robbery, as a Level 5 felony, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, and False Informing. He filed two pre-trial motions concerning jury selection: a "Motion for Individual Voir Dire of Potential Jurors" and a "Motion to Prohibit the 'Rehabilitation' of Prospective Jurors and From Asking any Form of the 'Magic Question.'" (App. at 129-131.) On July 5, 2016, the trial court issued an order substantially ...


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