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Wallace v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 25, 2017

Ludina Roshida Wallace, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court The Honorable Elizabeth C. Hurley, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 71D08-1509-F6-692

          Attorney for Appellant Brendan K. Lahey

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr., Lyubov Gore Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Riley, Judge.


         [¶1] Appellant-Defendant, Ludina R. Wallace (Wallace), appeals her conviction for criminal recklessness, a Class A misdemeanor, Ind. Code § 35-42-2-2.

         [¶2] We affirm.


         [¶3] Wallace raises one issue on appeal, which we restate as follows: Whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the recording of a 9-1-1 call into evidence.


         [¶4] On August 16, 2015, at approximately 7:00 p.m., Deja Cline (Cline) went to a gas station to purchase gasoline for her friend's vehicle. In addition to her friend, Cline was accompanied by her toddler. At the same time, Michael Jackson (Jackson), was at the gas station. Jackson and Cline were previously in a relationship, and Jackson is the father of Cline's toddler. For some reason, Jackson removed the child from Cline's vehicle, placed the child in his vehicle, and drove away. Upset by Jackson's actions, Cline called Jackson, and the two argued about his removal of their child from her vehicle. Cline informed him that she was on her way to his house, located at 1043 North Adams Street in South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, to pick up the child.

         [¶5] Upon arrival at Jackson's house, Cline "parked in the middle of the street basically kind of close to the curb but not parking actually. So in the middle of the street." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 9). Cline observed that, in addition to Jackson and their son, Jackson's ex-girlfriend-Wallace-was also present. Cline and Jackson engaged in a "verbal altercation." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 10). At some point, supposedly after Wallace interjected that Cline and Jackson should not be fighting as they were in front of the child, Wallace also became involved in an argument with Cline. The exchange of "obscenities and profanities" between Cline and Wallace intensified to the point where Cline "was angry enough to say that [she] would do something to [Wallace's] vehicle." (Tr. Vol. II, pp. 12, 24). Cline claimed that she threatened to "kick" Wallace's vehicle. (Tr. Vol. II, p. 12). According to Wallace, however, Cline said she was "going to tear that B [sic] car up." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 62).

         [¶6] Wallace and Cline offered drastically different accounts as to what occurred next, but it is undisputed that Wallace withdrew her .380 semiautomatic handgun and fired multiple shots. Wallace claimed that Cline, after running toward Wallace's vehicle, turned around and was holding a small paring knife. Upon seeing the knife, Wallace purportedly removed her pistol from her hip holster but did not point it at Cline. Instead, Wallace stated that she asked Cline to move away from her vehicle because she "just wanted to take [her] car and leave." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 63). However, Cline "began to charge towards [Wallace]." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 63). In response, Wallace stated that she "started running backwards and . . . started shooting at the ground . . . to stop [Cline]." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 64). Even after Wallace ran back to her vehicle and tried to drive away, she claims that Cline "came from around the back of the car and [Cline] swiped towards [Wallace, ] and [Wallace] leaned over avoiding her swipe." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 65). It was at that point that Wallace pointed the firearm at Cline and asked that Cline let her leave, all the while ignoring Cline's attempts to goad her into fighting. When she was finally able to do so, Wallace claims that she drove away. On the other hand, Cline described that she was never in possession of a knife or any other weapon, and she denied that she ever charged at or approached Wallace. Rather, according to Cline, after she threatened to kick Wallace's vehicle and Wallace saw that Cline was approaching her vehicle, Wallace shot her gun into the air multiple times before pointing the gun in Cline's direction and firing several more shots, one of which grazed Cline's shin.

         [¶7] During this confrontation, Jackson had removed the child from his vehicle and placed the child in the front seat of Cline's vehicle. Jackson then inexplicably removed Cline's keys from the ignition and threw them onto a neighbor's roof. Jackson also called 9-1-1. Although most of the recorded 9-1-1 call is unintelligible due to a significant amount of yelling in the background, at the beginning of the call, Jackson provided the dispatcher with his address and reported that there is a "girl in the middle of the street, baby in the front seat . . . trying to fight another girl." (State's Exh. 1). After yelling at someone on the scene to "get your ass outta my van, " Jackson instructed the dispatcher, "You need to get here, hurry up." (State's Exh. 1). Despite the subsequent repeated efforts of the dispatcher to glean information, such as whether anyone was in possession of a weapon, Jackson did not further respond. However, Jackson did not hang up. Thus, in the recording, Jackson can be heard yelling at someone to "do ...

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