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Court erred in striking state’s response as untimely

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that the post-conviction court erred in striking as untimely the state’s response to a man’s motion for summary judgment on his post-conviction relief petition. The judges also refused to grant the state’s request to hold that it is relieved of the time constraints of Indiana Trial Rule 56.

In State of Indiana v. Antonio Gonzalez-Vazquez, 09A02-1210-PC-792, the state appealed the denial of its motion to correct error challenging the grant of summary judgment to Antonio Gonzalez-Vazquez on his petition for post-conviction relief. Gonzalez-Vazquez alleged he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Gonzalez-Vazquez’s convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. He filed his petition for post-conviction relief in 2011 and filed his motion for summary judgment pursuant to Trial Rule 56 and Post-Conviction Rule 1(4)(g) on July 17, 2012. The state received his motion by certified mail.

On Aug. 20, the state requested an extension of time to respond; the court gave the state until Aug. 24, when it filed its response. Gonzalez-Vazquez claimed the state’s request for more time and its response were untimely; the state countered that the motion for enlargement of time was timely because the state was entitled to add three days for mail service based on Trial Rule 6(E) and the 33rd day fell on a Sunday.

The post-conviction court rejected the state’s argument and granted summary judgment for Gonzalez-Vazquez. That court excluded the state’s response on the grounds that Rule 6(E) was inapplicable, but that was erroneous as a matter of law, the judges ruled, citing DeLage Landen Fin. Servs. Inc v. Cmty. Mental Health Ctr., 965 N.E.2d 693 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012).

The state also argued that Trial Rule 56(C) and (I) shouldn’t be applicable to post-conviction proceedings because “significant prosecutions could be undone without any basis simply because a prosecutor’s office fails to respond in thirty days.” The state pointed to PCR 1(4)(g) that gives the trial court discretion to consider all pleadings and other matters, whereas Rule 56(C) limits consideration to the designated evidentiary matter.

“We are not in a position to carve out an exception to redress the State’s concern that mere negligence on its part might result in a windfall to a petitioner and a danger to the public,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote.

“Although the State may have a valid concern that a lack of diligent responses in post-conviction proceedings could result in the reversal of some criminal convictions, it would be an extremely rare occasion upon which a petitioner would be able to show an absence of an issue of material fact and further show his entitlement to judgment as a matter of law without a hearing and the presentation of evidence. Indeed, in this particular case, Vazquez focused upon alleged omissions but largely ignored the requirement of showing prejudice. In light of the foregoing, we decline the State’s invitation to hold that it is relieved of the time constraints of Trial Rule 56.”

 

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  1. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

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