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Court rules counsel was ineffective

January 1, 2007
A criminal defense attorney's failure to severe four burglary cases fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and prejudiced his client, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In Darrel M. Maymon v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0611-PC-1060, the appellate court reversed a ruling by Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman in denying relief on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at the post-conviction stage.

That trial defense attorney is not named in today's opinion, but the defendant-appellant contended that his trial counsel was ineffective for not severing the cases on four burglary charges - as should have been done because they were joined at trial solely on the ground they were of the same or similar character. He'd been found guilty by a jury for four crimes between June and September 2001, and the Court of Appeals had previously affirmed the convictions on direct appeal.

"Here, the facts of each charge do not demonstrate that Maymon committed a series of connected acts or that the incidents were part of a single scheme or plan," the court wrote today. "He contends that if a severance had been requested, the evidence of the burglaries where thefts occurred would not have been admissible in his trials for the burglaries where thefts did not occur.... We agree."

The court cited Wickizer v. State, 626 N.E.2d 795 (Ind. 1993), which held that evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts may be admitted to prove the intent of a defendant only when he or she has alleged a particular contrary intent at trial.

The court affirmed his convictions for two counts of burglary where thefts occurred, but reversed the other pair where thefts didn't happen. This case has been remanded with instruction to enter convictions for residential entry on those two and to sentence him accordingly.
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