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Tibbs v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 23, 2017

Cameron Tibbs, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Grant W. Hawkins, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G05-1603-MR-10589

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Victoria Bailey Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana J.T. Whitehead Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          BARNES, JUDGE.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Cameron Tibbs appeals his convictions for Level 6 Felony obstruction of justice and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. We affirm.

         Issue

         [¶2] The sole issue before us is whether the trial court properly denied Tibbs's motion to transfer his case to juvenile court after he was found not guilty of murder.

         Facts

         [¶3] On December 13, 2015, LeStacia Harris drove Shanice Dozier and seventeen-year-old Tibbs to a gas station/convenience store in Indianapolis. Tibbs and Dozier waited outside in the car while Harris went inside to purchase some items. While Harris was inside, Dozier noticed some cash lying on the ground. She claimed she did not see anyone drop it, and she retrieved it while Tibbs stayed in the car. As Dozier got back in the car, a man-David Bowman- came running up to the car, claiming the cash was his. Bowman pushed down one of the car windows and said, "I'm about to kill you right now if you don't give me my money back." Tr. Vol. III. p. 16. Bowman put his hand into one of his pockets as if reaching for a gun. As Bowman repeatedly said he was going to kill Dozier, Tibbs said "No you're not." Id. at 19. After Bowman again said, "Oh, yes, I am, " Tibbs pulled out a gun that he had in the car and fatally shot Bowman in the chest. Id. Harris had returned to the car by this point and immediately drove away. Dozier found a shell casing on the floor of the car and gave it to Tibbs, and she believes he "got rid of it." Id. at 36. Neither the shell casing nor the gun was ever found.

         [¶4] The State charged Tibbs as an adult with murder, Level 6 felony obstruction of justice, Class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. The State later dismissed the dangerous possession of a firearm charge. While Tibbs was out on bond awaiting trial and on home detention, and after he turned eighteen, he was arrested and charged in Jackson County with aiding, inducing, or causing Level 3 felony armed robbery, Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. At the murder trial, Tibbs claimed self-defense, and the jury was instructed on that defense. The jury acquitted Tibbs of murder but found him guilty of Level 6 felony obstruction of justice and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

         [¶5] After the jury's verdict but before the trial court entered judgment of conviction and sentenced Tibbs, he petitioned to have his case transferred to juvenile court for adjudication and disposition. At a hearing on the petition, he presented testimony from a social worker and from his mother. The social worker testified generally about juvenile brain development, differences between the juvenile and adult criminal systems, and the disparate impact of an adult criminal conviction versus a delinquency adjudication. Tibbs's mother related that he had never been arrested prior to the shooting of Bowman, that he had not had serious discipline problems in school, and that he had extended family willing to support him. The State did not present evidence at the hearing, but it did submit a written memorandum of law arguing against transfer to juvenile court to which it attached the charging information and officer incident report for the pending Jackson County charges.

         [¶6] At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court stated:

But for the violation of my orders, I'd send him back to juvenile in a minute, even at age 18. But the violation of my orders also includes the arrest in Jackson County, where a gun was involved even if he didn't have it. . . . It's going to be up to someone else to convince me that during that hour long drive there was no idea what was going on. So the [sic] all of that information inclines me to decide not to send this back to juvenile.

Tr. Vol. IV pp. 137-38. The trial court did not issue a written order denying Tibbs's motion to transfer, but the denial is reflected in the chronological ...


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