ILNews

Court grants transfer in prisoner suit

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving whether a man's request challenging his prison detainment should have been treated as post-conviction relief or a writ of habeas corpus.

Justices granted transfer late last week in Floyd Tewell v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0701-PC-118, which comes after a Nov. 5, 2007, decision from the Court of Appeals that had affirmed a ruling from Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman Jr.

The appeal stems from the court's denial of Tewell's petition for writ of habeas corpus, which the court had treated as a petition for post-conviction relief. Convicted of kidnapping and rape in the mid-1970s, Tewell had been sentenced to life imprisonment on the kidnapping conviction plus 20 years for the rape conviction. The parole board turned over the life sentence to 20 years in 1989 and he later earned parole in 1994. But a few years later, Tewell was arrested on drug charges and sentenced, and the parole board reinstated his life sentence.

Tewell filed a writ of habeas corpus in 2006, but the post-conviction court treated it as a PCR request and denied relief, granting the state's motion for summary disposition. He appealed on grounds that the court wrongly considered the petition as a request for post-conviction relief and also that the court wrongly found the parole board didn't discharge him from a life sentence.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court, relying on a 2001 ruling in which it wrote that the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to bring the person in custody before the court for inquiry into the cause of restraint "only if he is entitled to an immediate release from an unlawful custody."

Appellate judges also determined that the life sentence wasn't discharged because Tewell hadn't been released on parole for his life sentence before turning it over to 20 years.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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