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AG asks Supreme Court to review Gingerich conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversal of an adult murder conspiracy conviction of a then-12-year-old should be reviewed by the state Supreme Court, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement late Thursday.

Paul Henry Gingerich, who will turn 15 next month, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years as an adult for his role as the younger co-defendant in the 2010 shooting death of Phillip Danner in Kosciusko County. On Dec. 11, the Court of Appeals threw out the plea and sent the case back to the trial court.

The appeals panel held in Paul Henry Gingerich v. State of Indiana, 43A05-1101-CR-27, that the court abused its discretion in denying Gingerich a continuance of a waiver hearing for which his defenders had five days to prepare.

Zoeller’s statement said the petition to transfer “means that the state’s highest court will ultimately decide whether to uphold Gingerich’s guilty plea and sentence.”

There was no immediate indication whether the Indiana Supreme Court would grant transfer.

“Balancing the interests of justice when an offender is so young is extremely difficult. In working with prosecutors, my office is concerned about not setting a precedent that would allow violent offenders to back out of their plea agreements after pleading guilty,” Zoeller said in a statement.

“Mindful of the deceased victim in this tragic case, we respectfully request the Indiana Supreme Court consider this appeal and make the final determination,” Zoeller said.

In the petition to transfer, Zoeller argues “The Court of Appeals’ decision creates uncertainty about who may bring a direct appeal following a guilty plea, undermines the finality of pleas, and creates a disincentive to enter plea agreements, especially where juveniles are involved.”

Gingerich defense attorney Monica Foster argued to the Court of Appeals his case was replete with error beyond the denial of continuances. She said the trial court was misled on juvenile placement options for Gingerich and never had evidence of Gingerich’s incompetence to stand trial made available before the waiver hearing. She said his parents likely signed a plea in a legal landscape where they saw no due process.

Foster said she was surprised the AG’s office appealed.

“I really believe the Court of Appeals opinion was unquestionably correct and that no reasonable jurist could disagree with it,” Foster said. She said the appellate court cited longstanding precedent to reverse the trial court and accused the AG’s office of “trying to make this case into something it’s not.”

Read more about the Gingerich case in Indiana Lawyer.
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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