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7th Circuit judge grants prisoner’s request for certificate of appealability

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An Indiana prisoner’s request for a certificate of appealability has been granted by a 7th Circuit judge who found the man’s application set forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.

Prisoner Joshua Resendez sought habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, but his petition and subsequent request for a certificate of appealability were denied by Judge Sarah Evans Barker. In a five-page order issued from Judge Kenneth Ripple’s chambers, the federal appellate judge said he granted Resendez’s application because his petition presents a question concerning a defendant’s constitutional right to counsel under Indiana Code 35-38-1-15 that has not yet been settled by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The record is sparse in Resendez’s case, Joshua Resendez v. Wendy Knight, No. 11-1121. While in prison on robbery and forgery convictions, he filed a belated motion to correct erroneous sentence. The trial court denied the motion, so Resendez asked for an appointed attorney to help him appeal. That request was also denied, and the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed his appeal with prejudice.

Resendez then asked for federal habeas corpus relief, claiming the state courts denied him counsel in violation of the federal constitution. The District Court denied his request, believing he was asserting a right to counsel in a state post-conviction proceeding.

Judge Ripple pointed out that a certificate of appealability may be issued only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. The judge then discussed whether a motion brought under I.C. 35-38-1-15 qualifies as a direct or collateral proceeding.

“Whether the procedure is characterized correctly as direct or collateral presents an antecedent non-constitutional question. A certificate of appealability still can be granted on this question, however, because Mr. Resendez’s petition raises a substantial constitutional issue, namely the right to counsel,” he wrote. “Because this court has not previously determined how a motion brought under section 35-38-1-15 should be characterized, and because, given the factors this court considers, reasonable jurists could differ on whether this proceeding should be considered direct or collateral, Mr. Resendez’s application sets forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. I express no view on the correct resolution of the question presented.”

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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