People v. State

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My Opinion of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Opinion of Tyrus Coleman

May 20, 2011 By: John Kindley Category: Castle Doctrine, Freedom of Speech, Judges, Religion, Tyrus Coleman

I borrow the words of a commenter on a local story about the Indiana Supreme Court’s reversal of the Indiana Court of Appeals’ reversal of an innocent man’s attempted murder conviction and 45 year sentence, who writes:

First and foremost I know none of the individuals nor any of their family members involved in this. Having only followed coverage of this trial by this media. This is one of those traits of our court system that continues to perplex me. The Indiana Court of Appeals after careful consideration appeared to side with argument presented on behalf of Tyrus Coleman. The Indiana Supreme Court upon review of essentially the same evidence in turn rendered decision in total opposition to the lower court findings. Keep in mind, aside from the local trials these findings were not rendered by empaneled novice jurors. We as society are to then believe justice has truly been served in spite of the contradictions presented by our own court system.

“…Coleman had a criminal record and was on probation at the time, so, Rucker wrote, “We have not been persuaded that Coleman’s character or the nature of his offense requires a revision of Coleman’s sentence.”

Would it be unfair of me to mimic Justice Rucker’s apparent sense of logic as presented in the above quote and state that I have not found this session of the Indiana Supreme Court’s decisions logical when factored in with prior decision such as the ruling last week that one should not resist, but rather surrender self-protection and seek remedy later through the court if presented with illegal home invasion by authority; even if that authority is a K-9 officer gnawing on your flesh.

I borrow words that several years ago got an Indiana attorney suspended from the practice of law by the Indiana Supreme Court, and affirm that I am “left to wonder” by the Indiana Supreme Court’s opinion whether the Indiana Supreme Court was determined to keep Tyrus Coleman in prison for the next few decades of his life — separated from the young son whose life along with his own he honorably and courageously defended on his own property on the tragic day in question — “and then said whatever was necessary to reach that conclusion (regardless of whether the facts or the law supported that conclusion).” I don’t express this opinion “with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.” Rather, I base this opinion on a careful comparison of the “intellectual integrity” of the Court of Appeals’ opinion that would have set Tyrus free with the intellectual integrity of the Indiana Supreme Court’s opinion that condemns him to decades in prison, and on the observation that the Supreme Court’s opinion hardly addressed the argument that the Court of Appeals found convincing — if it can be said to have addressed it at all. I base this opinion, in part, on the Supreme Court’s factually inaccurate and self-refuting assertion that “although Coleman had the opportunity to do so, he never used his cell phone to contact the police and inform them that two armed and dangerous men were on his property.” (Coleman had no opportunity to contact the police during the three or so seconds it took the second of these two armed and dangerous men, Anthony Dye, to march up to within “close range” of Coleman after first appearing in Coleman’s back yard.) I base this opinion, in part, on the Supreme Court’s factually inaccurate and baseless assertion that Coleman and Dye were “friends.” I base this opinion, in part, on the Supreme Court’s omission of the critical and undisputed fact that Coleman knew that Dye had previously served time in prison for shooting at a police officer. (Dye himself is currently serving a prison sentence for being a “serious violent felon” in possession of a handgun when he strode onto Coleman’s property.) I base this opinion, in part, on the Supreme Court’s treating as an aggravator the fact that, when Coleman fired his weapon while standing directly in front of the only door to his garage, Coleman’s young son was inside that garage. I base this opinion, in part, on the Supreme Court’s factually inaccurate and misleading assertion that “After Dye was immobilized and fell to the ground, Coleman fired again striking Dye in the chest.” This clearly implies, falsely, that Coleman shot Dye after he was already on the ground and no longer a threat. (Earlier in the opinion, the court asserts: “As Dye stepped in front of Coleman, Coleman raised his gun and fired at Dye, who immediately fell to the ground. Coleman then shot Dye a second time.”) In fact, the evidence at trial and in the record clearly demonstrated the falsity of this implication. Dye “fell” forward to the ground and landed on his stomach. The round that struck him in the chest clearly was fired before Dye fell to the ground. Furthermore, the surveillance video which captured the entire incident clearly showed that, at the time this second shot must have been fired, Dye, as he was “falling” forward towards the ground, was not “immobilized” but was raising his gun and pointing it at Coleman.

I borrow the words of another man who was falsely and unjustly condemned by men less honorable than he:

Do not judge or go to law, do not punish, and you yourself will not be judged or punished. Forgive everyone and you will be forgiven; but if you judge others they will judge you also.

You cannot judge, for men are all blind and do not see the truth. How can you see a speck in your brother’s eye when there is dust in your own? You must first get your own eye clear-but whose eyes are perfectly clear? Can a blind man lead the blind? They will both fall into the pit.

And those who judge and punish are like blind men leading the blind.

Those who judge, and condemn others to violent treatment, wounds, mutilation, or death, wish to correct them, but what can come of their teaching except that the pupils will learn to become just like their teacher? What then will they do when they have learnt the lesson? Only what their teacher does: violence and murder.

And do not expect to find justice in the courts. To entrust one’s love of justice to men’s courts is like throwing precious pearls to swine: they will trample on them and will tear you to pieces.

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