State v. Carey

628 So. 2d 27 (1993)

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State v. Carey

Louisiana Court of Appeal
628 So. 2d 27 (1993)

Facts

The State of Louisiana (plaintiff) charged Demond Carey and Bobby Wallace (defendants) with second-degree murder based on the shooting death of Johnny Lee Atkins. The state alleged that Carey was driving in a car with Wallace and Tronde Young when they encountered Atkins on Willis Street. After the men exchanged words, Wallace pulled out a gun and shot Atkins. At trial, Young testified that he had not been in the car and had no personal knowledge of the shooting. To impeach Young’s testimony, prosecutors offered testimony from Eric Clinton about Young’s prior statements that contradicted Young’s trial testimony. Clinton testified that he was with Young, Carey, and Wallace on the night of the shooting and that Young told him that “something happened” on Willis Street. Clinton also testified that Young told Clinton in Carey and Wallace’s presence that (1) Wallace fired one shot, (2) Wallace asked Atkins for money, and (3) Carey said the shooting occurred because of money and weed. During closing arguments, the prosecutor encouraged the jury to accept the substance of Young’s previous statements to Clinton as proof that Carey and Wallace were guilty. The trial court instructed the jury that Clinton’s testimony about Young’s statements was being used only to contradict Young’s testimony and not to show the truth of Young’s prior statements about the shooting. The jury found Carey and Wallace guilty of second-degree murder, and they appealed to the Louisiana Court of Appeal. On appeal, the court initially concluded that the jury had improperly accepted Young’s prior statements as true and used that information to convict Carey and Wallace. The court thus reversed the convictions, vacated the sentences, and ordered that Carey and Wallace be discharged. The state moved for rehearing, arguing that Young’s statements to Clinton in the presence of Carey and Wallace, coupled with Carey and Wallace’s failure to respond to the statements, were an adoptive admission of the statements by Carey and Wallace.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Victory, J.)

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