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COA orders special prosecutor in Camm trial

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The county prosecutor who signed and later cancelled a book deal about his involvement in the murder trial of David Camm will not be allowed to serve as prosecutor at Camm’s third trial.

The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday that because Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson signed a contract to co-author and publish a book about Camm’s case prior to his third retrial, Henderson permanently compromised his ability to advocate on behalf of the people of Indiana in the third trial.

The issue came before the appellate court on interlocutory appeal in David R. Camm v. State of Indiana, No. 87A01-1102-CR-25. Camm has twice been convicted of killing his wife and two young children, but both times his convictions were overturned on appeal. Henderson signed an agreement to publish a book about the Camm case before Camm was sentenced to life without parole at his second trial in 2006; that conviction was overturned and Henderson decided to end his contract with the publisher because there was going to be a third trial. He cancelled the contract in September 2009 and does not have a current agreement to write a book about the case, but he has made comments indicating that he is committed to writing the book when able.

Henderson refiled murder charges against Camm on Dec. 1, 2009; that same day, Camm’s attorney filed for appointment of a special prosecutor. The trial court denied the petition in January 2011, in part because Henderson no longer had an active book deal.

“As a result of having signed the literary contract, Henderson has provided Camm with a defense strategy that he would not otherwise have,” wrote Judge John Baker. “Camm may now contend that Henderson’s literary contract, albeit cancelled, and his commitment to write a book influenced his decision to prosecute Camm for a third time. Henderson has made himself an issue at trial, and thus cannot continue to serve as prosecutor in this case.”

Henderson can’t be both committed to writing a book about the Camm case and serve as prosecutor because it creates a conflict of interest between his personal and professional interests. This conflict will undercut Henderson’s ability to represent the people of Indiana’s interests in a just and fair way, wrote Baker.
 

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  1. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  2. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  3. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  4. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  5. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

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