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COA affirms lower court in shoe-killing case

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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.






 

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  1. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  2. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  3. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  4. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

  5. Dear Fan, let me help you correct the title to your post. "ACLU is [Left] most of the time" will render it accurate. Just google it if you doubt that I am, err, "right" about this: "By the mid-1930s, Roger Nash Baldwin had carved out a well-established reputation as America’s foremost civil libertarian. He was, at the same time, one of the nation’s leading figures in left-of-center circles. Founder and long time director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Baldwin was a firm Popular Fronter who believed that forces on the left side of the political spectrum should unite to ward off the threat posed by right-wing aggressors and to advance progressive causes. Baldwin’s expansive civil liberties perspective, coupled with his determined belief in the need for sweeping socioeconomic change, sometimes resulted in contradictory and controversial pronouncements. That made him something of a lightning rod for those who painted the ACLU with a red brush." http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/roger-baldwin-2/ "[George Soros underwrites the ACLU' which It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1237 "The creation of non-profit law firms ushered in an era of progressive public interest firms modeled after already established like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") and the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") to advance progressive causes from the environmental protection to consumer advocacy." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_lawyering

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