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7th Circuit affirms denial of habeas corpus petition

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A man who stabbed his wife repeatedly, leaving her with a collapsed lung and ruptured spleen, was unable to prove that he received ineffective counsel at trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held.

In Dale J. Atkins v. Michael Zenk, No. 11-1891, a jury convicted Dale Atkins of attempted murder, criminal confinement, domestic battery and invasion of privacy and sentenced him to 51 years in prison. After filing an unsuccessful petition for post-conviction relief, he filed a habeas corpus petition. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, denied that petition, but granted a certificate of appealability.

At trial, Atkins claimed he was not present in his wife’s home at the time she was stabbed. But on the eve of trial, he admitted to his lawyer, Todd Ess, that he had stabbed his wife, but that it was an accident and he had not intended to kill her. In the wake of this revelation, Ess asked Atkins if he wanted to proceed using an accident defense or a misidentification defense, but Atkins was uncooperative and said he did not wish to testify or talk about his relationship at trial.

Atkins claimed that insufficient evidence exists to support his conviction for attempted murder, but in the 7th Circuit opinion, the court wrote: “Atkins’ entire argument boils down to the fact that Yvonne’s stab wounds were not particularly deep. Therefore, a jury could have reasoned that Atkins lacked the requisite intent to kill.” But the court said that argument is flawed, particularly because “ten stab wounds – one that was less than one inch from her heart and another that cut her spleen – are damning evidence supporting an intent to kill.”

The 7th Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court in denying Atkins’ habeas corpus petition.

 

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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