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Pair convicted in liquor store killing not entitled to DNA evidence

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Two men sentenced more than 20 years ago for murder and Class C felony attempted robbery were not improperly denied post-conviction relief when they couldn’t obtain DNA evidence they said would prove exculpatory, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Wayne Superior Judge Gregory Horn denied a request for post-conviction relief for the two men convicted of killing Richmond liquor store owner David Hodson in September 1990. Hodson died a day after he was shot. In Lorenzo Reid and Larry Blake, a/k/a Larry Reid v. State of Indiana, 89A01-1208-PC-377,  the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial.

Lorenzo Reid was sentenced to 54 years in prison and Larry Blake was sentenced to 44 years for their involvement in the killing. A third person also was believed to be involved, but was never charged, and the defendants believe new DNA testing would reveal that person, as they claimed, committed the crime.

Reid and Blake sought post-conviction relief because they claimed the state failed to preserve or destroyed evidence that would have been exculpatory, an argument the court rejected.

“Appellants argue that their due process rights were violated as a result of the post-conviction loss or destruction of certain DNA evidence. The evidence was available for testing and was tested prior to trial. Appellants had access to the evidence as well as the test results prior to trial, and the results of these tests, which excluded Appellants as potential sources for the DNA, were admitted at trial,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the court.

“We conclude that … Appellants do not have a Due Process right to obtain post-conviction access to the State’s evidence for additional testing,” Bradford wrote.

"Even assuming that additional testing could result in finding a match of the DNA evidence obtained at the crime scene, such a discovery would only be potentially useful as it would likely only identify Appellants’ unknown accomplice and would not, in and of itself, prove that Appellants had not committed the crimes for which they were convicted."

The court also rejected arguments of ineffective counsel and that the state failed to disclose that a witness had a possible prior criminal conviction.

 

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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.

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  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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