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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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