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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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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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