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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. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  2. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  3. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  4. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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