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COA orders special prosecutor in Camm trial

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The county prosecutor who signed and later cancelled a book deal about his involvement in the murder trial of David Camm will not be allowed to serve as prosecutor at Camm’s third trial.

The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday that because Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson signed a contract to co-author and publish a book about Camm’s case prior to his third retrial, Henderson permanently compromised his ability to advocate on behalf of the people of Indiana in the third trial.

The issue came before the appellate court on interlocutory appeal in David R. Camm v. State of Indiana, No. 87A01-1102-CR-25. Camm has twice been convicted of killing his wife and two young children, but both times his convictions were overturned on appeal. Henderson signed an agreement to publish a book about the Camm case before Camm was sentenced to life without parole at his second trial in 2006; that conviction was overturned and Henderson decided to end his contract with the publisher because there was going to be a third trial. He cancelled the contract in September 2009 and does not have a current agreement to write a book about the case, but he has made comments indicating that he is committed to writing the book when able.

Henderson refiled murder charges against Camm on Dec. 1, 2009; that same day, Camm’s attorney filed for appointment of a special prosecutor. The trial court denied the petition in January 2011, in part because Henderson no longer had an active book deal.

“As a result of having signed the literary contract, Henderson has provided Camm with a defense strategy that he would not otherwise have,” wrote Judge John Baker. “Camm may now contend that Henderson’s literary contract, albeit cancelled, and his commitment to write a book influenced his decision to prosecute Camm for a third time. Henderson has made himself an issue at trial, and thus cannot continue to serve as prosecutor in this case.”

Henderson can’t be both committed to writing a book about the Camm case and serve as prosecutor because it creates a conflict of interest between his personal and professional interests. This conflict will undercut Henderson’s ability to represent the people of Indiana’s interests in a just and fair way, wrote Baker.
 

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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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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