Appeals panel affirms denial of post-conviction relief

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A man seeking relief from his 2006 conviction of Class A felony dealing cocaine failed to persuade a panel of the Court of Appeals Tuesday that his 48-year sentence should be reduced.

In Freddie L. McKnight, III v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1109-CR-454, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Elkhart Circuit post-conviction court’s denial of relief. The panel rejected McKnight’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and that his hearing was unfair because an appointed public defender withdrew before the hearing and he proceeded pro se.

McKnight also claimed the state withheld evidence that a confidential informant had a 10-year-old theft conviction.

In affirming denial of post-conviction relief, Judge Terry Crone wrote for the court that “the State presented ample independent evidence of McKnight’s guilt. … McKnight has not demonstrated a reasonable probability that the outcome of his trial would have been different had trial counsel known about the theft conviction and attempted to impeach (the informant) with questions about that remote conviction.”

The panel also rejected the appeal on McKnight’s pro se argument. “Given that the right to counsel in a post-conviction proceeding is not guaranteed and that he was represented by appointed counsel until counsel properly withdrew as provided by our post-conviction rules, McKnight has stated no viable claim of error.”



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