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Arguments for woman who claims she was wrongfully convicted

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The case of a woman who contends she was wrongfully convicted of arson and murder because of faulty science will be heard by the Indiana Court of Appeals July 13.

Kristine Bunch appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief, claiming advances in science invalidate the basis for concluding the fire in her mobile home, which killed her 3-year-old son, resulted from arson. She was convicted of arson and murder in 1996; she filed her petition for post-conviction relief in 2006, which the court denied in 2010 after an evidentiary hearing.

Bunch also argues that the state improperly failed to disclose exculpatory and impeachment evidence, and that her trial attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by not adequately challenging the state’s expert testimony and eliciting otherwise inadmissible opinion evidence suggesting guilt.

Indiana Lawyer interviewed  Bunch in 2009 as part of the “Justice in Question” series exploring issues around wrongful convictions.

Arguments begin at 11 a.m. in Bunch v. State of Indiana, No. 16A05-1007-PC-439 and will be webcast.  

The Court of Appeals will also hear Lawane Chaney v. Clarian Health Partners Inc., No. 49A05-0905-CV-263, at 1:30 p.m. The arguments will focus on Clarian Health Partners' motion for appellate fees and costs under Indiana Appellate Rule 66(E).

In February 2010, the COA ruled in favor of Clarian in this purported class-action suit. By the time of the appeal, Lawane Chaney, the only purported class member, was no longer a party, but his former counsel, Ron Weldy, proceeded with the case allegedly on behalf of Chaney.

The trial court had dismissed the case with prejudice for lack of a class representative but had also denied Clarian's request for attorney fees. The trial court also imposed sanctions against Weldy, which Weldy appealed. The COA affirmed the imposition of Trial Rule 37 sanctions against Weldy. The COA denied Weldy's petition for rehearing, and the Indiana Supreme Court denied his petition for transfer.

Arguments in Chaney will also be webcast.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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