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Judges affirm denial of post-conviction relief

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief claiming ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The man failed to introduce the original trial transcript at his post-conviction hearing and the post-conviction court didn’t take judicial notice of the record, as it’s now able to do under an amended Indiana Evidence Rule.

Larry Mitchell pro se challenged the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief following his convictions of felony murder, robbery, and related offenses. While he sought relief on claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, he never offered the original transcript into evidence at the post-conviction hearing. Mitchell also didn’t ask the judge to take notice of the original transcript, which is allowed under Indiana Evidence Rule 201(b)(5), effective Jan. 1, 2010.

This amendment allows courts to judicially notice records beyond those in the cases before them, the Court of Appeals has ruled in recent cases involving the rule amendment. Before the amendment, a post-conviction court couldn’t take judicial notice of the original proceedings absent an exceptional situation.

“Accordingly, we understand amended Evidence Rule 201(b)(5) to allow a post-conviction court to judicially notice the transcript of the evidence from the petitioner’s underlying criminal proceedings to appraise counsel’s performance and evaluate claims of ineffective assistance,” wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik in Larry D. Mitchell v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1003-CR-340.  

But Mitchell never asked the court to take judicial notice of the record any time before the court’s Feb. 8, 2010, order that denied relief. In addition, the court didn’t judicially notice the record sua sponte, so the trial record was never before the post-conviction court for consideration. His claims of ineffective assistance of counsel were fact-sensitive allegations that required examination of the trial record, Judge Vaidik continued.

The judges also held the post-conviction court didn’t error by issuing its judgment denying relief before Mitchell’s deadline for submitting proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the court didn’t err in denying his motion to withdraw his petition of post-conviction relief without prejudice.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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