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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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

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  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

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  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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