ILNews

Court upholds enjoined counts

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's convictions and sentence for murder and drug possession, saying he waived his right to appeal his denied motions for mistrial because he failed to raise the points properly during his trial.

In David Mark Frentz v. State of Indiana, No. 59A05-0610-CR-559, Frentz raised four issues on appeal: whether the trial court committed reversible error in enjoining and then denying his motions to sever the drug possession counts from the murder count; whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying Frentz's motions for mistrial; whether the trial court abused its discretion in imposing consecutive sentences; and whether Frentz's sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Frentz was convicted of murdering his housemate Zackary Reynolds and of Class C felony methamphetamine possession, Class C felony cocaine possession, and Class D felony marijuana possession.

Frentz's doctor told him he needed to quit drinking, and the doctor gave Frentz medication to help him quit. Frentz quit drinking cold turkey that day. That same day, Frentz started to feel bad, called a friend, and told him he had been hallucinating.

Sometime between that night and the next morning, Frentz had shot Reynolds three times and drove down his road several times at a high rate of speed to make it look like multiple vehicles were fleeing his home. Frentz later called 911 and told police he was being robbed and someone else shot Reynolds. Frentz was arrested.

At Frentz's home, police saw marijuana in plain view and got a search warrant for the house where they found nearly 40 grams of marijuana, and cocaine and methamphetamine residue.

While in jail, Frentz told two inmates multiple stories about what happened that night to get their approval on which story to claim was real. During Frentz's trial, he filed a motion to sever the drug charges from the murder count, which the trial court granted in part by severing two other counts. Frentz was convicted and sentenced to 55-years for murder and four years on the drug counts to be served consecutively for a total of 59 years.

Judge Terry Crone wrote in the opinion that no Indiana cases outline a standard of review for a claim raised pursuant to Indiana Code section 35-34-1-9(a)(2), which states offenses may be sufficiently "connected together" to justify joinder if the state can establish the crimes are linked by the same motive. Frentz's motions to sever was technical misjoinder, saying the murder and drug counts were not based on the same conduct to constitute a single scheme. Judge Crone wrote that even if the court were to follow Frentz's recommendation that it follow federal precedent on the matter, it would find any error by the trial court denial to be harmless.

The trial court did not error in denying Frentz's motions for mistrial. Frentz waived his right to appeal the denial of a mistrial following redacted statements mentioned in court because he failed to make contemporaneous objections to the prosecutor's statements about the redacted information. Twice Frentz refused the trial court's offer to admonish the jury after he asked for a motion for mistrial, so Frentz also waived his right to appeal these denials.

In terms of his sentence, the court found no error in the trial judge's process to impose consecutive sentences in this case and given Frentz's character and nature of his offenses, his 59-year sentence is appropriate.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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