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Appeals court affirms post-conviction relief not justified for rapist

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A man who pleaded guilty in 1997 to raping his 6-year-old daughter committed a crime so heinous that his sentence of 50 years in prison was justified, and he raised no issues in a post-conviction relief appeal on which the sentence could be reduced.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Juan Manzano’s conviction on direct appeal in 1998, and on Tuesday affirmed denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in Juan Manzano v. State of Indiana, 48A02-1310-PC-905.

Manzano argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that he had planned an intoxication defense. He also argued that his counsel failed to suppress DNA evidence and a statement after his arrest. He also faulted counsel for failing to object to improper aggravators at sentencing, where he received the maximum sentence for his Class A felony guilty plea.

Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel that affirmed denial of relief, repeatedly referring to the nature of the crime.

“Manzano was not subjected to ineffective assistance of trial counsel during the sentencing proceedings because his heinous offense and the horrific injury to his six-year-old daughter supports the maximum sentence imposed,” Mathias wrote.

 

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