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Jackson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 16, 2018

Jermaine Jackson, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Sheila A. Carlisle, Judge, Trial Court Cause No. 49G03-1701-F1-3202

          Attorney for Appellant Valerie K. Boots Marion County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana.

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

          Najam, Judge.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Jermaine Jackson appeals his convictions for attempted murder, a Level 1 felony; three counts of criminal recklessness, as Level 6 felonies; and carrying a handgun without a license, as a Class A misdemeanor, following a jury trial. He presents a single issue for our review, namely, whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence of his prior bad acts. We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] Jackson and Tranitra Tipton were previously married and had two children together, A.J. and J.J. In January 2016, after Jackson and Tipton had divorced, Tipton began dating Troy Pollard, and they had a child together, N.P., who was born in November 2016.

         [¶3] On November 11, 2016, Tipton dropped off A.J. and J.J. at their daycare center, and Jackson was there. Jackson saw that J.J.'s hair had been cut and asked Tipton who had cut it. When Tipton told Jackson that Pollard had cut J.J.'s hair, Jackson "got angry," yelled at Tipton, threatened to beat her up, and threatened to "kill [Pollard] if he touch[ed J.J.'s] hair again." Tr. Vol. 2 at 239. Later that afternoon, when Tipton and Pollard returned to the daycare center to pick up the children, Jackson was there and confronted Pollard. Jackson began threatening Pollard and said, "N****, I [will] kill you." Id. at 241. Tipton called the police, and Jackson left the scene with the children.

         [¶4] On January 20, 2017, Pollard, Tipton, A.J., J.J., and N.P. arrived home at 9:45 p.m. after an evening out. They were about to exit their minivan when Pollard saw a man running towards him. As the man got closer, Pollard recognized the man as Jackson. Jackson was wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt that he often wore, and he was wearing black sweatpants and black tennis shoes. When Jackson reached the minivan, he fired a semi-automatic handgun at Pollard four or five times, [1] striking him twice in his chest and once in his back, near his spine. Tipton saw that the shooter was Jackson before he fled the scene, and she yelled, "That was Jermaine." Id. at 230. Tipton then drove Pollard to the hospital. On the way there, Pollard called his mother and told her that Jackson had shot him.

         [¶5] At the hospital, officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department ("IMPD") interviewed Pollard and Tipton, who both identified Jackson as the shooter. Tipton gave the officers Jackson's address and phone number, and she gave them the address for Jackson's aunt living in Chicago. When Pollard was released from the hospital, he, Tipton, and the children went to Michigan to stay with relatives, and they stayed there until Jackson was apprehended at his aunt's house in Chicago on January 30. In the course of their investigation, IMPD officers discovered that Jackson's cell phone had "pinged" two cell phone towers at 8:56 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on January 20, at locations approximately fifteen minutes and ten minutes away from the scene of the shooting, respectively. Tr. Vol. 3 at 120.

         [¶6] The State charged Jackson with attempted murder, as a Level 1 felony; three counts of criminal recklessness, as Level 6 felonies; carrying a handgun without a license, as a Class A misdemeanor; unlawful possession of a firearm by a domestic batterer, a Class A misdemeanor; and invasion of privacy, as a Class A misdemeanor. Prior to trial, the State filed a notice of intent to introduce evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b), namely, Jackson's threats to Pollard and Tipton in November 2016. Following a hearing, the trial court granted the State permission to introduce the Rule 404(b) evidence over Jackson's objection. Also prior to trial, the court dismissed the unlawful possession of a firearm by a domestic batterer on the State's motion, and the court ordered that the invasion of privacy charge would be severed and the trial would be bifurcated. At trial, Jackson's defense was that he was not the shooter. The first jury trial resulted in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. After the first phase of the second trial, a jury found Jackson guilty of attempted murder, carrying a handgun without a license, and three counts of criminal recklessness. The State dismissed the invasion of privacy count. The trial court entered judgment of conviction accordingly and sentenced Jackson to an aggregate term of thirty-five years executed. This appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶7] Jackson contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted the evidence of threats he had made to Pollard and Tipton in November 2016. Jackson maintains that the "prior bad act evidence here was a single, isolated, one-minute-long incident between [Jackson and Pollard], occurring months before the charged offense." Appellant's Br. at 14. And he asserts that "the challenged evidence is not sufficiently probative of the two men's ...


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