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COA finds double jeopardy in DeLaney attacker's case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that two convictions of a former attorney who attacked a lawyer-legislator violated Indiana’s double jeopardy clause and that one of the charges should be reduced in order to remedy the violation.

In Augustus Mendenhall v. State of Indiana, No. 29A02-1104-CR-353, Augustus Mendenhall, the man who beat and held at gunpoint Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, in October 2009 because of a long-standing dispute in which Mendenhall blamed DeLaney for his family's legal issues, appealed his convictions.

Mendenhall, an attorney who was admitted to practice in 2008 but has since been permanently disbarred as a result of his attack on DeLaney, was convicted of Class A felony attempted murder, Class A felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, Class B felony aggravated battery, Class B felony criminal confinement and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.  A jury found Mendenhall guilty but mentally ill on all counts, and Hamilton Superior Judge William Hughes sentenced him to an aggregate term of 40 years.

On appeal, Mendenhall raised five issues that included the trial court’s denying his motion for mistrial, his objection to allowing the state to present a rebuttal witness, and whether the state should have been allowed to present rebuttal to Mendenhall’s case following court-appointed medical witness testimony. The court affirmed on those issues, as well as on claims questioning the evidence sufficiency.

But in examining double jeopardy questions, the appellate court found that the Class B felony conviction for aggravated battery and Class A felony conviction for robbery resulting in serious bodily injury violate Indiana’s probation against double jeopardy. The court remanded with instructions to reduce the robbery conviction to a Class C felony.

 

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  • Error in story
    This statement in your story is inaccurate: "because of a long-standing legal dispute that had involved DeLaney’s representation of Mendenhall’s father..." Mr. DeLaney represented a client ADVERSE to Mendenhall's father.

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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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