from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Barbara Cook
Crawford, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G01-1806-F3-20993
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Kevin Wild Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill Attorney General of
Indiana George P. Sherman Supervising Deputy Attorney General
Antonio Buford appeals the trial court's contempt finding
and his sentence for domestic battery as a level 6 felony. We
affirm in part and reverse in part.
and Procedural History
In 2018, Buford and E.C., who had a child together, were in a
relationship. E.C. visited Buford at his home during a
weekend in June, they consumed alcohol, and a violent
argument ensued during which Buford punched E.C. in the eye
while she was holding their infant son. When E.C.'s
parents picked her up, she had a "busted lip" and
bruises on her forearm, and the left side of her cheek was
bruised and swollen. Transcript at 72. The State charged
Buford as amended with counts of criminal confinement as
level 3, level 5, and level 6 felonies, strangulation as a
level 6 felony, two counts of domestic battery as level 6
felonies, and criminal recklessness as a level 6 felony under
cause number 49G01-1806-F3-20993 ("Cause No.
20993"). It also alleged that he was an habitual
On July 16, 2018, the court issued a no contact order that
prohibited Buford from having contact with E.C. "in
person, by telephone or letter, through an intermediary, or
in any other way, directly or indirectly."
Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 52. On February 26,
2019, the State filed a Notice of Intent to Offer
Out-Of-Court Statements and, in arguing for the admission of
hearsay and testimonial statements "made by [E.C.] to
her mother, step-father, Officers, and Detective,"
indicated: in preparation for trial it had listened to
numerous jail calls Buford made to his mother, S.B., that
during the calls Buford and S.B. discussed aspects of the
case including court dates, that Buford spoke to E.C. in the
more-recent calls, and that it believed E.C. may not appear
at the scheduled trial based on the content of the calls.
Id. at 138. It also filed on the same day a Notice
of Intent to Offer Potential 404(B) Evidence and indicated
that it would present evidence "in the form of a jail
call from February 25th, 2019[, ] where [Buford] states
explains [sic] to his mother that he has been through the
Court process before and the girl didn't come [to
Court][, so the case was thrown out" to
establish "motive, intent, preparation, and/or plan to
absent [E.C.] from trial." Id. at 152.
On March 4, 2019, the court addressed the State's notices
of intent before commencing the scheduled jury trial. The
State presented the testimony of S.B., who indicated she was
Buford's mother, identified her phone number, and
answered affirmatively when asked whether he calls her from
the Marion County Jail and whether "we discussed in the
deposition that it is more than ten (10) times."
Transcript at 12. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective
Matthew Engelmann testified that he served E.C. in person
with a subpoena to appear in court, that he implied it was
"for the trial" when he spoke with her, that he
served the subpoena at S.B.'s address which he indicated
was also E.C.'s residence at the time, and that E.C.
signed the subpoena indicating that she understood.
Id. at 14. After listening to recordings of three
telephone conversations, the court allowed the State to
present a redacted recording of a February 25th conversation
between Buford and S.B. and a recording of a January 3rd
conversation in which S.B., after speaking with Buford,
handed E.C. the phone.
At the trial and in the presence of the jury, the court
admitted State's Exhibits 13 and 14, which Detective
Engelmann identified as recordings and logs for calls made
from the Marion County Jail. A line item in State's
Exhibit 13 indicates that a single outgoing call took place
on January 3, 2019. The court also admitted State's
Exhibit 15, which Detective Engelmann agreed was a redacted
version of "portions of the calls that we discussed that
are relevant to this case." Transcript at 92. He
indicated that he determined Buford made the calls
"[b]ased on the context of some of the conversations
[Buford] was having" and that he was able to, and did
recognize, the voices of E.C. and S.B. on the calls.
Id. State's Exhibit 15 was published to the jury
after the State moved to publish "the . . . (inaudible)
that was ruled on in Pre-trial." Id. at 95.
The jury found Buford guilty of one count of domestic battery
as a level 6 felony and not guilty of the other offenses.
After the verdict, the court indicated that evidence had been
presented of a violation of the no contact order which had
occurred outside of its presence, set a Rule to Show Cause
Hearing on why Buford should not be held in contempt for
violating its order, and instructed the prosecutor to bring
to the hearing a copy of the redacted version of the jail
On March 7, 2019, the court held a rule to show cause
hearing, at which it admitted into evidence the CD it had
requested, took judicial notice of its entry of the no
contact order, and stated that during trial it had learned
that "not only did [Buford] send a letter to [E.C.], as
evidence [sic] the redacted telephone calls," but he
also had conversations with her, instructed S.B. to give
particular directions to E.C., and had conversations with
S.B. "with regard to directing [E.C.] having to do with
the facts of the case." Id. at 180.
The court then asked: "Mr. Buford, is there any
information that you want to give me that might bear on my
decision with regard of [sic] me holding you in contempt for
violating the [c]ourt's order?" Id.
Buford's counsel answered she would like to state,
"before [Buford] answers the question," that
additional charges were pending, mentioned an Obstruction of
Justice charge "for directly telling [E.C.] not to come
to Court" and an undetermined number of charges for
Invasion of Privacy attached to the first charge, and
requested to stay the hearing or to "set out to track
with the new case" "knowing that [Buford] knows
that these charges are pending and at this point he has a
fifth (5th) amendment right not to incriminate
himself regarding those charges." Id. at
180-181. She also stated "[i]t is in MC status right
now," indicated that "the charges will be formerly
[sic] filed this week," and expressed a concern for a
potential double jeopardy issue. Id. The court
stated there was no double jeopardy issue, that its ruling
had to do with Buford's contact in the first place, the
substance of which was not relevant, and that "he's
not going to be punished or held accountable for two (2)
separate acts or for the same act twice." Id.
at 182. (181) The State noted that, if the court were to
"find it as a punitive act," it would then
"not file the Invasion of Privacy for January 3,
2019" and indicated that it had other Invasions of
Privacy counts to bring regardless of the ruling.
Id. The court stated: "Mr. Buford you have
blatantly without any regard of the Court's order
disrespected the Court and held the Court's order in
distained [sic] and to ensure that there is no further
violation of the Court's order [t]he court is going to
find you in contempt of the no contact order that was
issued." Id. at 183. After ordering a sanction
of ninety days in the Marion County Jail "at this time
as a coercive measure," the court asked if there was
anything else from the State and Buford's counsel, who
answered "No Judge" and "No Your Honor,"
respectively. Id. The court's contempt minute
sheet states "Sanctions ordered[:] 90 day (flat)."
Appellant's Appendix Volume III at 78.
Also on March 7, 2019, the State charged Buford under cause
number 49G01-1903-F5-8877 ("Cause No. 8877") with
obstruction of justice as a level 5 felony and seven counts
of invasion of privacy as class A misdemeanors under Ind.
Code § 35-46-1-15.1(a)(5),  including Count II which
alleged that Buford did knowingly or intentionally violate a
no contact order under Cause No. 20993, ...