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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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