Thursday, November 27, 2014
The Indiana Court of Appeals had reversed a burglary conviction based on its conclusion that the prosecution knowingly used perjured testimony.
The case involved the robbery of a Dollar General in December 2012.
A video showed that the perpetrator was a white female.
An employee named Greenlee (a white female) came under suspicion and confessed that it was she in the video. She implicated Smith (her black male boyfriend) and another female as accomplices.
Greenlee entered a guilty plea and admitted under oath that she was the one in the video.
She was awaiting sentencing when she was called as a witness in Smith's trial and offered to testify that it was Smith in the video.
After an objection by defense counsel (who was aware of Greenlee's plea) and a recess, the trial judge allowed the testimony.
The judge found that Greenlee's plea and trial was inconsistent but not necessarily false. Greenlee explained that her plea testimony was false because she was trying to aid Smith.
The prosecution granted Greenlee immunity for any false statements at her plea.
The court found that the issue had been preserved and that the prosecution had knowingly used perjured testimony. The witness gave mutually exclusive accounts of the robbery under oath and there was a "high probability" that her trial testimony was false.
Further, the grant of immunity did not solve the perjury problem, only Greenlee's problem.
Notably, a police witness testified that the video showed that the perpetrator was a white female.
Thanks to Don Lundberg for sending the case to us. (Mike Frisch)