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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.