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COA vacates murder conviction for ineffective assistance

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A woman convicted of a 2006 murder received ineffective assistance of counsel and is entitled to a retrial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday, vacating a murder conviction.

In a memorandum opinion in which three panel judges each wrote opinions, the majority agreed that a defense attorney was impaired by a conflict of interest. The majority in Anissa L. Tyler v. State of Indiana (NFP), 48A04-1309-PC-428, vacated Tyler’s convictions of murder and Class A felony aiding, inducing or causing robbery, for which she was sentenced to an aggregate 60 years in prison. It was affirmed on direct appeal.

Tyler was convicted of killing Charles Robinette, who was found slain in his Anderson apartment in April 2006.

Tyler’s defense attorney, Blanchard Shearer, also had represented a drug defendant who was Tyler’s cellmate and told authorities that Tyler had confessed to her role in the killing. When Shearer became aware of the potential conflict during Tyler’s trial, co-counsel Jason Childers cross-examined the informant.

The post-conviction relief court found no ineffective assistance of counsel, but the appeals panel ruled otherwise. "Tyler’s trial counsel’s performance was adversely affected by the presence of actual conflict, which prevented trial counsel from impeaching (the informant’s) credibility by cross-examining her as to her pending drug charges and subsequent reduction in bond and release."

Judge Paul Mathias wrote the majority opinion which was joined by Judge Cale Bradford, who concurred in a separate opinion, writing that co-counsel’s failure to question the informant about bond reductions and other benefits she received for her testimony “leads to a reasonable inference that Tyler was prejudiced by the acts of the trial counsel.”

Judge Margret Robb agreed Tyler received ineffective assistance, but wrote that Shearer was barred by client confidentiality from disclosing what he knew about the informant’s drug case to co-counsel or anyone else.

"It was Childers’s failure to thoroughly review or properly utilize those materials that led to the jury receiving an inaccurate picture of Mann’s credibility,” Robb wrote.
 
 
 

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  4. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  5. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

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