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COA: 6th Amendment not violated in juvenile murder case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in waiving a 15-year-old boy’s murder trial to adult court and that Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute does not violate the Sixth Amendment.

On August 22, 2008, Martin Villalon chased down 15-year-old John Shoulders and fatally shot him because Villalon believed Shoulders was a Vice Lord gang member. Villalon, who was also 15 at the time, was waived to adult court in 2009 following a hearing in juvenile court. He was charged with murder, and a jury trial found him guilty as charged. On July 26, 2010, the trial court sentenced him to 60 years in prison.

In Martin A. Villalon, Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-1010-CR-544, Villalon appealed his conviction and sentence. He raised several issues for review, including the claim that Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute is unconstitutional because it deprives juveniles of a Sixth Amendment right to have a jury determine facts supporting enhanced punishment for an offense.

Villalon argued that, because his trial in adult court greatly increased his punishment, he was entitled to have a jury determination of facts supporting the enhancement. In support of that argument, Villalon cited Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490 (2000), which set forth the general rule that “any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury.”  However, more recently in Oregon v. Ice, 555 U.S. 160, 129 S.Ct. 711, 714 (2009), the United States Supreme Court declined to extend the Apprendi rule in the context of consecutive versus concurrent sentencing, holding that Apprendi did not apply to concurrent or consecutive sentencing in which the jury had traditionally played no role.

The appeals court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial does not apply to juvenile proceedings, and that Villalon had not proved that the Indiana juvenile statute violates that amendment. Villalon also failed to establish that his waiver to adult court lacked evidentiary support for the statutory prerequisites, and he failed to demonstrate ineffectiveness of trial counsel or reversible error in the admission of evidence or the conduct of the trial. In light of Villalon’s character and previous criminal history, the court held that his 60-year sentence is not inappropriate.

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  1. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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