ILNews

Court rules counsel was ineffective

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A criminal defense attorney's failure to severe four burglary cases fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and prejudiced his client, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In Darrel M. Maymon v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0611-PC-1060, the appellate court reversed a ruling by Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman in denying relief on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at the post-conviction stage.

That trial defense attorney is not named in today's opinion, but the defendant-appellant contended that his trial counsel was ineffective for not severing the cases on four burglary charges - as should have been done because they were joined at trial solely on the ground they were of the same or similar character. He'd been found guilty by a jury for four crimes between June and September 2001, and the Court of Appeals had previously affirmed the convictions on direct appeal.

"Here, the facts of each charge do not demonstrate that Maymon committed a series of connected acts or that the incidents were part of a single scheme or plan," the court wrote today. "He contends that if a severance had been requested, the evidence of the burglaries where thefts occurred would not have been admissible in his trials for the burglaries where thefts did not occur.... We agree."

The court cited Wickizer v. State, 626 N.E.2d 795 (Ind. 1993), which held that evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts may be admitted to prove the intent of a defendant only when he or she has alleged a particular contrary intent at trial.

The court affirmed his convictions for two counts of burglary where thefts occurred, but reversed the other pair where thefts didn't happen. This case has been remanded with instruction to enter convictions for residential entry on those two and to sentence him accordingly.
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  3. 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.

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