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Indiana Supreme Court rejects murderer's appeal over juror

June 20, 2012

A woman sentenced to 55 years in prison for her role in a 2010 murder lost an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Tina Whiting appealed the seating of a juror in her murder case because the trial judge denied a joint challenge for cause. The juror knew Whiting and several other people involved in the trial in Jay Circuit Court, and said “No I can not” when asked if she could provide a fair trial. The juror was empanelled and served.

But the justices ruled in Tina Whiting v. State of Indiana, 38S05-1206-CR-345, that the defense had peremptory challenges available to strike the juror and failed to do so, preserving no error for the court to review.

“We hold that Whiting’s juror-bias claim is procedurally defaulted because she failed to exhaust her peremptory challenges. We also hold that a procedural default under the exhaustion rule is not amenable to fundamental-error review. Accordingly, we affirm Whiting’s conviction for felony murder and summarily affirm her sentence,” said the unanimous ruling written by Justice Frank Sullivan.

Whiting and accomplices were convicted in the beating and stabbing death of Shawn Buckner of Portland, Ind. Buckner was found buried in a shallow grave in Delaware County after Whiting and several others lured him to an apartment and then began beating him in an attempt to steal his prescription medication.

 

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