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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. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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