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Arguments for woman who claims she was wrongfully convicted

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The case of a woman who contends she was wrongfully convicted of arson and murder because of faulty science will be heard by the Indiana Court of Appeals July 13.

Kristine Bunch appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief, claiming advances in science invalidate the basis for concluding the fire in her mobile home, which killed her 3-year-old son, resulted from arson. She was convicted of arson and murder in 1996; she filed her petition for post-conviction relief in 2006, which the court denied in 2010 after an evidentiary hearing.

Bunch also argues that the state improperly failed to disclose exculpatory and impeachment evidence, and that her trial attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by not adequately challenging the state’s expert testimony and eliciting otherwise inadmissible opinion evidence suggesting guilt.

Indiana Lawyer interviewed  Bunch in 2009 as part of the “Justice in Question” series exploring issues around wrongful convictions.

Arguments begin at 11 a.m. in Bunch v. State of Indiana, No. 16A05-1007-PC-439 and will be webcast.  

The Court of Appeals will also hear Lawane Chaney v. Clarian Health Partners Inc., No. 49A05-0905-CV-263, at 1:30 p.m. The arguments will focus on Clarian Health Partners' motion for appellate fees and costs under Indiana Appellate Rule 66(E).

In February 2010, the COA ruled in favor of Clarian in this purported class-action suit. By the time of the appeal, Lawane Chaney, the only purported class member, was no longer a party, but his former counsel, Ron Weldy, proceeded with the case allegedly on behalf of Chaney.

The trial court had dismissed the case with prejudice for lack of a class representative but had also denied Clarian's request for attorney fees. The trial court also imposed sanctions against Weldy, which Weldy appealed. The COA affirmed the imposition of Trial Rule 37 sanctions against Weldy. The COA denied Weldy's petition for rehearing, and the Indiana Supreme Court denied his petition for transfer.

Arguments in Chaney will also be webcast.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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