ILNews

Justices affirm life without parole for murderer

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed in all respects the life without parole sentence imposed on a man sentenced for murder.

Justice Loretta Rush wrote a unanimous opinion that rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony was improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his offense.

In Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana, 28S00-1305-LW-327, Rush wrote that Knapp and his de facto stepson Jeffrey Sims were meth addicts and that when Sims took his own life, Knapp blamed Stacey Lawson, Sims’ former girlfriend who had broken up with him.   
 
Knapp was arrested after Lawson’s body was found in a cemetery in Newark. The evidence trail against Knapp included phone messages saying he was “raged and crazed,” and was planning to meet Lawson and “I might beat her (expletive) brains out” and blame it on the meth.

Lawson died of massive head injuries.

“(O)ur collective judgment is that LWOP is not inappropriate in light of the nature of Defendant’s offense or his character as an offender,” Rush wrote for the court, calling his actions “calculated, premeditated and brutal.”

Knapp also has a criminal history dating to 1985, including convictions for drug and alcohol offenses, intimidation and battery causing bodily injury.

“And while we acknowledge Defendant’s genuine grief over Sims’ death, we find it minimally mitigating, because it appears to have been based at least in part on anger at being cut off from Sims’ finances,” Rush wrote. “He could have directed his indignation towards methamphetamine and the drug culture that helped bring about Sims’ death and Defendant’s own probation, but he directed it instead towards exacting brutal revenge.”

 

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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