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COA affirms post-conviction relief for ineffective counsel

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A man who was convicted of multiple felonies related to a two-day instance of domestic violence in which he “terrorized” his girlfriend in their apartment will be resentenced on a lesser charge on one conviction.

The Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a post-conviction court’s grant of relief from a Class B felony criminal confinement conviction because Frank Greene’s counsel failed to cite relevant caselaw. The panel remanded for resentencing on the confinement conviction reduced to a Class D felony.

“Greene filed a petition for post-conviction relief, contending that he received ineffective assistance of both trial and appellate counsel for failing to rely on Long v. State, 743 N.E.2d 253 (Ind. 2001) in their respective argument that the State presented insufficient evidence of criminal confinement, as a Class B felony,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote in State of Indiana v. Frank Greene, 49A02-1303-PC-228.

Long established that the elements of Class B felony confinement require that bodily injuries be caused by forcibly removing someone from one place to another. While Greene’s victim sustained injuries for which Greene also was charged, convicted and sentenced, evidence didn’t directly support the conviction as a Class B felony, the court ruled.

“Focusing on Long, the post-conviction court stated that if counsel would have adequately researched the sufficiency of the evidence issue and cited to Long as ruling precedent, the trial court and appellate court ‘would have had no choice but to reverse Greene’s conviction for the Class B felony,’” Riley wrote in an opinion joined by Judge James Kirsch.

Chief Judge Margret Robb concurred in a separate opinion but said she didn’t believe the outcome was necessarily compelled by Long. She also noted that effective July 1, 2014, the statute has been amended to a Level 3 felony, though “the legislature has not altered the strict language which seemingly requires that the injury occur during the removal.

“Because the statute itself precludes the enhancement to a Class B felony, and because neither Greene’s trial nor his appellate counsel raised this issue irrespective of Long, I concur with the majority that the post-conviction court properly granted post-conviction relief,” Robb wrote.



 

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