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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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