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Bullock v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 5, 2018

Corey Bullock, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Kurt Eisgruber, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G01-1412-MR-53684

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Megan Shipley Marion County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana George P. Sherman Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Vaidik, Chief Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Corey Bullock was charged with three counts relating to the death of his girlfriend's infant daughter: murder, aggravated battery, and neglect of a dependent. The jury hung on the murder count but found him guilty on the other counts. Following the trial court's declaration of a mistrial on the murder count, the court allowed the State to retry Bullock on all three counts, and the court found him guilty of murder and neglect in a bench trial.

         [¶2] Bullock now appeals, arguing that the trial court entered judgment of conviction after the first trial and the State was therefore barred from retrying him according to the statutory double-jeopardy principles discussed by the Indiana Supreme Court in Cleary v. State, 23 N.E.3d 664 (Ind. 2015). Although there are Chronological Case Summary (CCS) entries from the last day of the jury trial that include the word "Judgment," the court clarified shortly thereafter that it had not actually entered judgment of conviction. Because there was no judgment of conviction, the State was not barred from retrying Bullock on all three counts. We therefore affirm the trial court.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] In July 2014, Bullock moved in with Apryl Hammer and her infant daughter, Aiva McGee, in an Indianapolis apartment. Bullock, who was not the father of Aiva, cared for Aiva while Hammer worked. On September 30, Hammer went to work and left nine-month-old Aiva in Bullock's care. Shortly after Hammer left for work, Aiva stopped breathing. Bullock called his mother, who then called 911. Aiva, who was covered in bruises, was taken to Riley Hospital for Children and placed on life support. Testing revealed that Aiva had experienced a "significant and severe brain injury." Tr. Vol. III p. 89. She had subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhages on both sides of her head and retinal hemorrhages behind her left eye. Aiva also had a lacerated liver and rib fractures that were in the healing stages. Aiva was taken off life support and passed away on October 2. The cause of death was blunt-force injury of the head. The police interviewed Bullock, and he denied inflicting the injuries on Aiva. Rather, he claimed that Aiva "bang[ed] her head a lot" when she crawled and moved around. Id. at 163. Bullock also said he had never seen Hammer harm Aiva. Id. at 165.

         [¶4] In December 2014, the State charged Bullock with three counts in connection with Aiva's death: Count I: murder, Count II: Level 3 felony aggravated battery, and Count III: Level 3 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.[1] Bullock's jury trial was held from October 31 to November 2, 2016. After several hours of deliberations on November 2, the jury told the trial court that it could not reach a verdict on the murder count but that it had reached verdicts on the other counts. The jury found Bullock guilty on Counts II and III, and the trial court declared a mistrial as to Count I and set a "pretrial conference" to discuss how to proceed given the jury's verdicts. Supp. Tr. Vol. IV p. 3. Neither party asked the court to enter judgment of conviction on Counts II and III, and the trial court did not orally do so either. In fact, the court never used the word "judgment" or "conviction." Id. at 2-5. And as Bullock concedes on appeal, there is "[n]o written judgment . . . in the record" entering judgment of conviction on Counts II and III. Appellant's Br. p. 17. The following entries, however, appear in the CCS:

         (Image Omitted)

         Finding of Guilty Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 17.

         [¶5] The pretrial conference was held the following week "to determine a direction" for the case. Supp. Tr. Vol. IV p. 9. The court reiterated that there were "guilty findings" (not "convictions") for "two of the three counts." Id. The trial court asked the State how it wanted to proceed, and the prosecutor responded, "Judge, we would like the murder count to be reset for trial [because] the State does intend to move forward with trial." Id. Defense counsel said she planned to file a motion to dismiss raising "double jeopardy." Id. The court set a trial date for a few months out and said it would hold a hearing on the double-jeopardy issue once both sides briefed the issue.

         [¶6] Defense counsel then filed a motion to dismiss alleging that "[d]ouble jeopardy precludes retrial of the Defendant on Count I, Murder, due to the conviction of the lesser included offense of Count II, Aggravated Battery." Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 186 (emphasis added). The State filed a response arguing that there was no double-jeopardy violation in retrying Bullock because the trial court had not yet entered ...

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