ILNews

COA affirms lower court in shoe-killing case

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a post-conviction court’s determination that a man convicted of kicking another man to death cannot appeal his conviction.

In Matthew Conder v. State of Indiana, No.49A02-1012-PC-1404, Matthew Conder claimed that his conviction of Class A felony voluntary manslaughter should be reversed because his counsel was ineffective. But the Court of Appeals held that Conder’s attorney, Arnold Baratz, acted in accordance with Conder’s wishes by appealing Conder’s initial murder conviction, which resulted in Conder being charged with the lesser offense of Class A felony voluntary manslaughter.

In 2003, Conder kicked another man to death in a bar parking lot. He then took the victim’s wallet and attempted to conceal his guilt by bleaching his shoes. A bench trial in 2004 found Conder guilty of murder, robbery, and theft. Conder filed a motion requesting that the trial court enter a finding of guilty to voluntary manslaughter, rather than murder, arguing that his shoe constituted a “deadly weapon” for the purposes of the voluntary manslaughter statute.

The trial court conducted a hearing on the motion, ultimately entering the voluntary manslaughter conviction instead of murder and sentenced Conder to 40 years for that charge and three years for theft, with the sentences to be served consecutively. Conder then appealed the court’s decision.

In Conder v. State, No. 49A02-0412-CR-1070, slip op. at 2-4 (Ind. Ct. App. Aug. 17, 2005), the appeals court found that because Conder asked the court to find him guilty of manslaughter, he waived any possible objection to that conviction. However, the COA did find the sentence to be inappropriate and reduced it to an aggregate 33 years.

In his most recent appeal, Conder contended that his attorney performed deficiently because he should not have argued that a shoe is a deadly weapon. Conder claimed that if Baratz had not admitted to the shoe’s role as a deadly weapon, Conder could have been convicted of Class B felony manslaughter, rather than a Class A felony.

The appeals court wrote that Baratz had, in fact, argued for the B felony. At trial, when pressed to respond about whether a shoe constituted a deadly weapon, Baratz did not actually concede to that fact, but merely stated that “the Court could very well find that it fits that definition.” Had the trial court determined the shoe wasn’t a deadly weapon, then Conder’s murder conviction would’ve stood. Baratz’s effective representation of his client is what resulted in the lesser charge of manslaughter, the appeals court held.  

The COA affirmed the post-conviction court’s decision denying Conder’s petition, stating that he failed to prove his counsel had acted deficiently.






 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

ADVERTISEMENT