ILNews

Court rules marriage not valid, affirms sentence

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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A woman who helped her husband flee from police after committing three murders in southern Indiana can be convicted of assisting a criminal because her marriage is void in Indiana, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In Misty D. Davis v. State of Indiana, No. 63A01-0712-CR-605, the Court of Appeals today upheld Misty Davis' convictions of and sentence for assisting a criminal in murder and giving a false statement to law enforcement. Davis' husband, Nick Harbison, attacked four people, resulting in three of the victims' deaths. When Harbison returned home following the attacks, he was covered in blood and told Davis that he "hurt a couple of people." Davis, Harbison, their child, and Harbison's stepmother Joyce Harbison, fled from Indiana twice, traveling to Missouri and Arkansas. Eventually, they returned home to Indiana where Harbison and Davis hid for several days before Harbison turned himself in to police.

Davis claimed her marriage to Harbison in Kentucky exempted her from Indiana's aiding a criminal liability, which says a parent, child, or spouse of the offender can't be held liable for assisting a criminal. But Davis' marriage in Kentucky is void in Indiana, wrote Judge James Kirsch. Indiana doesn't recognize their marriage because they went to Kentucky to evade Indiana's marriage laws; Davis was underage at the time and didn't have her mother's consent. Because the marriage was entered into under false pretenses, it's void in Indiana, so the trial court didn't err in denying Davis' motion to dismiss, wrote the judge.

The appellate court also upheld the trial court denial of Davis' motion to dismiss based on venue, admitting graphic testimony and photographs of the murders during her trial, the jury instruction detailing Indiana's marriage laws, and the use of the presentence investigation report at her sentence hearing.

The Indiana Court of Appeals found her aggregate sentence of six years executed was not excessive.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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