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COA upholds denial of convicted murderer’s motion to dismiss

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that murder charges should have been dismissed based on a plea agreement he made with the state, finding no error by the trial court in allowing the jury to decide whether the defendant’s testimony was credible. The plea agreement preventing prosecution for murder would be in effect only if the defendant met certain criteria.

Chaunsey Fox was charged with murder, attempted robbery and felony murder in the shooting death of Eddie Williams in South Bend in 2009. Fox, who was incarcerated in 2011, got on police radar as a potential suspect when he contacted a detective claiming to have information on the homicide. Fox wanted favorable treatment for his pending charge in return.

He claimed to be at the scene of the crime but did not shoot Williams. The state agreed to not charge Fox with murder if he was truthful, testified against other individuals if called upon, he was not the shooter, and he didn’t carry a gun during the crime. But Fox later told inmates he was the shooter, and Derek Fields testified that he and Fox tried to rob Williams, Fox carried a handgun that night, and was the shooter. A jury convicted Fox of felony murder and attempted robbery.

Fox wanted the murder charges dismissed based on the agreement he entered into with the state. In Chaunsey L. Fox v. State of Indiana, 71A04-1304-CR-187, the Court of Appeals concluded the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by denying the motion to dismiss and allowing the jury to decide the issue of credibility. The judges also rejected Fox’s claim that he relied on the state’s promise not to prosecute him for murder by pointing out Fox admitted to being at the crime scene before entering into the deal. Nor was the court convinced that the jury accepted Fox’s version of the events just because it acquitted him of murder as Fox argued.

The COA also concluded there were no Brady violations or judicial bias as Fox claimed.

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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