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Hedrick v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 12, 2019

William Hedrick, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Delaware Circuit Court The Honorable Linda Ralu Wolf, Judge, Trial Court Cause No. 18C03-1501-F6-1

          Attorney for Appellant Stacy R. Uliana Bargersville, Indiana.

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

          OPINION ON REHEARING

          Riley, Judge.

         [¶1] This case is before us on a petition for rehearing filed by Appellant-Defendant, William Hedrick, M.D., (Hedrick). The Appellee-Plaintiff, the State, has not filed a responsive brief. Hedrick appealed his convictions for three Counts of Level 6 felony forgery and three Counts of Level 6 felony registration offenses. Hedrick v State, 124 N.E. 3d 1273 (Ind.Ct.App. 2019). For the forgery offenses, the State alleged that Hedrick had used the name and suspended DEA registration number of nurse practitioner Gay Watson to fill three separate prescriptions. For the registration offenses, the State alleged that Hedrick had knowingly or intentionally distributed controlled substances with a federal or state registration number "that is fictitious, revoked, suspended or issued to another person." Id. The issues we addressed on appeal were: (1) Whether the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence; (2) Whether the State presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to support Hedrick's convictions; and (3) Whether the three forgery convictions violated the continuous crime doctrine. We affirmed.

         [¶2] In our original opinion we stated that Hedrick had failed to object to the DEA Agent's deposition testimony; thus, he had waived his claim for appellate review. We stated:

At Hedrick's trial, a DEA agent testified that after Hedrick's license had been placed on probation, the DEA began receiving complaints pertaining to Hedrick's practice. When asked to describe the complaints, Hedrick's counsel interjected and stated, "Objection for hearsay purposes. Go ahead." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 128). The trial court did not issue a ruling on Hedrick's objection, and the DEA agent proceeded to testify as follows:
The complaints focused primarily on the concerns that the local pharmacies had regarding the total number of prescriptions being, controlled substance prescriptions being prescribed out of his business entity, his medical practice, by him and his employees and the dangerous combinations of controlled substances being prescribed.
(Tr. Vol. II, p. 128). While it appears from the above excerpt that Hedrick objected to the evidence, he did not give the trial court the opportunity to evaluate the purpose of the statements which he now alleges to be inadmissible hearsay or to consider the applicability of exceptions to the hearsay rule. The failure to object at trial waives any claim of error and allows otherwise inadmissible hearsay evidence to be considered for substantive purposes. Scott v. State, 803 N.E.2d 1231, 1238 (Ind.Ct.App. 2004). Accordingly, Hedrick waives this issue for appellate review.

Id. at 1279.

         [¶3] In his petition for rehearing, Hedrick claims that we erroneously stated that he failed to object to the DEA Agent's hearsay testimony offered at his trial. Hedrick argues that the DEA Agent's testimony was offered through a video deposition and we erroneously stated that the testimony was offered in open court. Hedrick also correctly argues that he did not waive his hearsay claim on appeal since he issued a continuing objection to the DEA Agent's deposition testimony at his pretrial hearing and prior to its publication at his trial. The trial court overruled all of Hedrick's objections.

         [¶4] Because Hedrick objected to the admission of the DEA Agent's deposition testimony on hearsay grounds, he therefore did not waive his hearsay claim for appellate review. Therefore, we grant his petition for rehearing to correct those errors in our original opinion. However, we find that in applying the harmless error analysis to the DEA Agent's deposition testimony and paired with the fact that there was enough evidence presented by the State to sustain Hedrick's convictions, we reaffirm our original opinion in all other respects.

         I. The DEA Agent's Deposition

         [¶5] The admission or exclusion of evidence falls within the sound discretion of the trial court, and its determination regarding the admissibility of evidence is reviewed on appeal only for an abuse of discretion. Wilson v. State, 765 N.E.2d 1265, 1272 (Ind. 2002). An abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court's decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court. Doolin v. State, 970 N.E.2d 785, 787 (Ind.Ct.App. 2012). Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered for "the truth of the matter asserted," and it is generally not admissible as evidence. Ind. Evidence Rules 801(c)(2), 802. "Whether a statement is hearsay will most ...


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