7th Circuit rejects prisoner’s ineffective assistance appeal

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A man convicted of attempted murder failed to convince a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that he suffered sufficient prejudice to warrant relief from a 90-year sentence imposed after a brutal crime.

The panel affirmed District Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s denial of a writ of habeas corpus in Che B. Carter v. Keith Butts, 13-2466. Che Carter and another man viciously assaulted Donna Stegemiller in her home in 1990. In 1991, Carter was convicted of burglary, robbery, rape and attempted murder.

Carter’s post-conviction petition was denied by the Indiana Supreme Court, which vacated a Court of Appeals finding that Carter had received ineffective assistance of counsel and was therefore entitled to relief. The Supreme Court found Carter had not met the prejudice element of the two-prong test for ineffective assistance established in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).

“We do not find that the Indiana Supreme Court unreasonably applied clearly established federal law; rather, we find that the Indiana Supreme Court reasonably concluded that Carter was not sufficiently prejudiced by (attorney Belle) Choate’s failure to challenge the attempted murder jury instruction to warrant relief,” Judge William J. Bauer wrote for the panel.

The jury instructions and evidence as a whole made clear to the jury that it was required to find that Carter intended to kill Stegemiller in order to convict, the Indiana Supreme Court held.

“While Choate’s performance may well have been deficient, we find that the Indiana Supreme Court’s conclusion … was not an unreasonable one,” Bauer wrote.


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  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  3. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.

  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

  5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...