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Indiana Supreme Court upholds death sentence

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The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to grant a twice-convicted death row inmate’s request for a new trial, upholding his convictions and penalty for murders that go back more than a decade.

Justices issued a unanimous decision today in Wayne D. Kubsch v. State of Indiana, No. 71S00-0708-PD-335, affirming a post-conviction relief denial from St. Joseph Superior Judge Jane Woodward Miller.

Charged in 1998 with murdering his wife, her ex-husband, and her 11-year-old son, Kubsch was first convicted and sentenced to death in 2000, but that was reversed on appeal. A second trial resulting in his conviction and death sentence came in 2005, and the Supreme Court upheld that on direct appeal in 2007.

Kubsch sought a third trial on claims that the judge shouldn’t have allowed hearsay testimony – about him bragging while in the in the county jail about killing a child, and that an insurance official’s testimony that the company didn’t pay out benefits for his wife’s death – was improper.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Dec. 22, 2009.

Justice Robert D. Rucker wrote the unanimous opinion, which not only delved into the testimony issues but also addressed other matters such as ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and other evidentiary errors at trial. Nine of the issues were waived because they were known and available at the time of Kubsch’s direct appeal, Justice Rucker wrote, and another three issues are barred because of the doctrine of res judicata.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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