The case of a woman who contends she was wrongfully convicted of arson and murder because of faulty science will be heard by the Indiana Court of Appeals July 13.
Kristine Bunch appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief, claiming advances in science invalidate the basis for concluding the fire in her mobile home, which killed her 3-year-old son, resulted from arson. She was convicted of arson and murder in 1996; she filed her petition for post-conviction relief in 2006, which the court denied in 2010 after an evidentiary hearing.
Bunch also argues that the state improperly failed to disclose exculpatory and impeachment evidence, and that her trial attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by not adequately challenging the state’s expert testimony and eliciting otherwise inadmissible opinion evidence suggesting guilt.
Indiana Lawyer interviewed Bunch in 2009 as part of the “Justice in Question” series exploring issues around wrongful convictions.
Arguments begin at 11 a.m. in Bunch v. State of Indiana, No. 16A05-1007-PC-439 and will be webcast.
The Court of Appeals will also hear Lawane Chaney v. Clarian Health Partners Inc., No. 49A05-0905-CV-263, at 1:30 p.m. The arguments will focus on Clarian Health Partners' motion for appellate fees and costs under Indiana Appellate Rule 66(E).
In February 2010, the COA ruled in favor of Clarian in this purported class-action suit. By the time of the appeal, Lawane Chaney, the only purported class member, was no longer a party, but his former counsel, Ron Weldy, proceeded with the case allegedly on behalf of Chaney.
The trial court had dismissed the case with prejudice for lack of a class representative but had also denied Clarian's request for attorney fees. The trial court also imposed sanctions against Weldy, which Weldy appealed. The COA affirmed the imposition of Trial Rule 37 sanctions against Weldy. The COA denied Weldy's petition for rehearing, and the Indiana Supreme Court denied his petition for transfer.
Arguments in Chaney will also be webcast.