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Taylor v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 11, 2019

Anthony G. Taylor, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal from the Hamilton Superior Court The Honorable David K. Najjar, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 29D05-1702-IF-1451

          PRO SE APPELLANT Anthony G. Taylor Lafayette, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Ian McLean Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          VAIDIK, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Case Summary

         [¶1]Anthony Taylor was charged with speeding in a work zone, and the case was filed in Carmel City Court. Those events implicated two rights under Indiana law: (1) the right to a jury trial and (2) the right to a trial de novo in county court if found guilty in city court. Taylor did not request a jury trial in city court and was found guilty by the judge. He did, however, demand a jury trial when he filed his request for a trial de novo with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. The Hamilton Superior Court initially scheduled a jury trial but later found Taylor guilty in a bench trial, having determined that Taylor waived his right to a jury in the trial de novo by failing to request a jury trial in city court. We reverse. Our Supreme Court has made clear that a defendant can request a jury for a trial de novo regardless of whether they requested a jury in the city-court proceeding.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On October 7, 2016, Taylor was driving on I-69 in Fishers when he was pulled over by an Indiana State Police trooper. The trooper issued Taylor a citation for speeding in a work zone, alleging that the posted speed limit was 50 mph and that Taylor had been driving 64 mph. A few days later, the matter was filed in Carmel City Court, and an initial hearing was set for December 15, 2016. Taylor appeared on that date and entered a denial, and trial was set for February 6, 2017. Taylor never requested a jury trial, and a bench trial was held on the scheduled date. The Carmel City Court judge found in favor of the State and ordered Taylor to pay a $300 fine and $158.50 in court costs.

         [¶3] Under Indiana Trial De Novo Rule 2(B), Taylor had fifteen days to file a request for a trial de novo with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. Taylor did so on or about February 18, 2017, also demanding a jury trial "pursuant to Rule 38 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure." Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 32. In accordance with Trial De Novo Rule 2(F), the city court vacated its judgment against Taylor.[1] In accordance with Trial De Novo Rule 2(E), the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office filed a new complaint against Taylor.[2]Hamilton Superior Court 6 scheduled a jury trial for May 9, 2017. After Taylor filed a motion for change of judge, the case was sent to Hamilton Superior Court 5, which ultimately rescheduled the jury trial for February 22, 2018.

         [¶4] However, the day before the jury trial was to be held, Superior Court 5 called a hearing at which it announced that Taylor's demand for a jury trial had been untimely and should not have been granted. The court relied on Trial Rule 38(B), which provides, in part:

Any party may demand a trial by jury of any issue triable of right by a jury by filing with the court and serving upon the other parties a demand therefor in writing at any time after the commencement of the action and not later than ten (10) days after the first responsive pleading to the complaint, or to a counterclaim, crossclaim or other claim if one properly is pleaded; and if no responsive pleading is filed or required, within ten (10) days after the time such pleading otherwise would have been required.

         The court read this rule to mean that if Taylor wanted a jury trial, he should have filed his demand at some point in late 2016, shortly after the original case was filed in Carmel City Court. The court vacated the jury-trial setting, held a bench trial on March 26, 2018, and entered judgment in favor of the State and ordered Taylor to pay a $300 fine and $160.50 in court costs.

         [¶5] ...


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