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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. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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