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COA finds inmate's post-conviction relief process 'confusing'

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a pro se inmate’s petition for permission to file a belated appeal after his post-conviction relief petition was denied, finding the chronological cases summary to contain inconsistencies. The judges also noted that this particular court has a “documented history” of not organizing and keeping abreast of its post-conviction relief files.

Anthony Taylor was convicted in 2007 of felonies unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and unlawful use of body armor, and he was sentenced to 15 years. In 2008, he filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. During this process, Taylor was moved from the Putnamville Correctional Facility to the Miami Correctional Facility. Taylor alerted the court of his move, but he did not receive further pleadings or orders for a while after his move. The post-conviction court denied his petition for relief on Feb. 4, 2010.

In April, Taylor filed a motion for re-issuance of order denying post-conviction relief and/or extension of time limitation in order to contest ruling, and at this point the allegations of the pleadings included in the record and the entries of the CCS diverge, noted the appellate court. The CCS, which acts as the court’s official record, had inaccuracies and contradictions. The post-conviction court, Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins’ court, denied Taylor’s motion on July 27, 2010.

In Anthony Taylor v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1008-PC-949, Taylor appealed pursuant to Post-Conviction Rule 2, but that rule is not available to him. Instead, the appellate court used its power to grant appropriate equitable relief under Taylor’s Trial Rule 72(E) motion. This rule is applicable when the CCS doesn’t contain evidence that a copy of the court’s order was sent to each party, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb. The CCS doesn’t specify to what address the post-conviction court mailed the order denying Taylor’s petition and also showed that it still mailed an order to him at his previous address after he gave the court notice he was moved.

Taylor did everything he knew to do to bring the case to the appellate courts, and the record supports his assertion that he corresponded with the post-conviction court around the time of his move.

“And, as Taylor points out, this particular court has a documented history of failing to organize and keep abreast of its post-conviction relief files,” wrote the chief judge, pointing to the discipline imposed against Judge Hawkins in 2009 for not organizing post-conviction relief files and allowing delays in post-conviction relief cases. The judge had failed to ensure that defendant Harold Buntin’s post-conviction relief order was processed immediately and the parties were notified of the order.

“In sum, what transpired after Taylor filed his petition for post-conviction relief is confusing even to us; it is little wonder Taylor was confused about how to proceed,” she wrote.

They remanded to the post-conviction court to allow Taylor to file a notice of appeal from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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