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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues