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Judge again finds death row inmate competent

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A federal judge in Indianapolis has found that a death row inmate is competent to assist his attorneys and proceed with a five-year-old habeas appeal that's been stayed twice because of mental health concerns.

The ruling Tuesday from U.S. Judge Larry J. McKinney clears the way for habeas proceedings against condemned inmate Eric Holmes, who was sentenced to die in 1992 by Special Judge Cynthia Emkes for the 1989 double murder and robbery of his former managers at Shoney's Restaurant in Castleton.

After exhausting his appeals in state courts, Holmes in 2004 filed a habeas corpus petition in the Southern District of Indiana, which denied the writ request that year. But Holmes appealed based on grounds that he wasn't competent, and the 7th Circuit twice remanded the question to the trial level to determine that issue. The second remand was October 2007 and now Judge McKinney has again determined Holmes is competent to proceed with the habeas appeal.

Citing other civil actions Holmes has filed and testimony he's given showing an understanding of his legal position, as well as how Holmes' counsel hasn't outlined how the client would need to assist them, Judge McKinney determined that Holmes "does not experience symptoms or cognitive condition which affect his ability to provide such assistance to counsel as is necessary to enable the claim to habeas corpus relief to be prosecuted adequately by his counsel in the pending appeal."

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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