ILNews

Court denies rehearing, orders execution

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court has refused to hear a condemned man's appeal and ordered his execution for May.

Justices unanimously agreed this week to not rehear the case of Michael Dean Overstreet, who was convicted of the 1997 disappearance, rape, and strangulation of Franklin College freshman Kelly Eckart. He has been on death row since 2000, and the Supreme Court upheld the sentence in late November. His attorneys asked for a rehearing in January.

Now, a docket entry sets the execution date for May 30. This appellate denial ends Overstreet's state-court options, but he can now appeal to federal courts and could also ask the governor for clemency.

If taken to federal court, the case could bring up a topic of disagreement on Indiana's Supreme Court. Justices agreed to uphold the death sentence last year, but Justice Robert D. Rucker expressed dissatisfaction in the death penalty on grounds relating to Overstreet's mental-illness claims.

In that opinion, Justice Rucker wrote that he sees no principled distinction between Overstreet's claims and those of the mentally retarded, who by state law cannot be executed.

"I would declare that executing Overstreet constitutes purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering thereby violating the Cruel and Unusual Punishment provision of the Indiana Constitution," he wrote.

If executed this spring, Overstreet would be the first person executed by lethal injection this year. Two men, David Leon Woods and Michael Allen Lambert, were put to death by lethal injection last year, and a third man, Norman Timberlake, was set for execution but died of natural causes in prison.
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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