ILNews

Court rules counsel was ineffective

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A criminal defense attorney's failure to severe four burglary cases fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and prejudiced his client, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In Darrel M. Maymon v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0611-PC-1060, the appellate court reversed a ruling by Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman in denying relief on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at the post-conviction stage.

That trial defense attorney is not named in today's opinion, but the defendant-appellant contended that his trial counsel was ineffective for not severing the cases on four burglary charges - as should have been done because they were joined at trial solely on the ground they were of the same or similar character. He'd been found guilty by a jury for four crimes between June and September 2001, and the Court of Appeals had previously affirmed the convictions on direct appeal.

"Here, the facts of each charge do not demonstrate that Maymon committed a series of connected acts or that the incidents were part of a single scheme or plan," the court wrote today. "He contends that if a severance had been requested, the evidence of the burglaries where thefts occurred would not have been admissible in his trials for the burglaries where thefts did not occur.... We agree."

The court cited Wickizer v. State, 626 N.E.2d 795 (Ind. 1993), which held that evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts may be admitted to prove the intent of a defendant only when he or she has alleged a particular contrary intent at trial.

The court affirmed his convictions for two counts of burglary where thefts occurred, but reversed the other pair where thefts didn't happen. This case has been remanded with instruction to enter convictions for residential entry on those two and to sentence him accordingly.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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