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Appellate court split on ordering new trial for mom

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a woman convicted of killing her son by setting fire to their home in 1996 receive a new trial, although one judge believed she did not meet her burden to prevail on appeal from the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief.

Chief Judge Margret Robb and Edward Najam reversed the denial of Kristine Bunch’s petition for post-conviction relief. Bunch was sentenced to 60 years for the murder of her son, Anthony. The state claimed she set the fire in their mobile home and some evidence showed accelerating material present in samples taken from the home. In 2006, she began pursuing post-conviction relief, claiming, among other things, newly discovered evidence in the form of advances in the field of fire science and a violation of due process by the state in failing to disclose certain evidence. The post-conviction court denied the petition in 2010.

In Kristine Bunch v. State of Indiana, No. 16A05-1007-PC-439, the majority determined the post-conviction court erred in determining she wasn’t entitled to a new trial on the basis of the fire victim toxicology analysis evidence because that evidence meets each of the nine requirements to be newly discovered evidence. They also found the post-conviction court clearly erred in concluding there was no Brady violation in the state’s failure to disclose material exculpatory or impeaching evidence to Bunch prior to trial. Based on these two issues, she is entitled to a new trial, wrote Robb.

Judge Terry Crone wrote a 14-page dissent in which he did not believe Bunch met her burden to prevail on her appeal of the denial of post-conviction relief. She didn’t show that the evidence as a whole leads unerringly and unmistakably to a conclusion opposite of what the post-conviction court reached.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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