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Defendant not at fault for failing to timely appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to hold a man at fault for the failure to file a timely notice of appeal, pointing to his attorney’s death from cancer shortly after the sentencing hearing.

Mark Jordan appealed the denial of his petition for relief under Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 2. He was convicted of burglary, theft and auto theft in January 2010 and sentenced June 4, 2010, to 23 years. At the time of the sentencing, Jordan indicated he wanted to appeal, but his attorney Frederick Work said the decision to appeal would be made after talking to Jordan’s family.

Jordan’s mother paid Work to handle the appeal, but on July 29, 2010, he was admitted to a hospital for surgery to treat a recurrence of cancer. He died Sept. 13, 2010. The only activity on Jordan’s case during this time was an August letter Jordan sent inquiring whether an appeal had been filed. No appeal was filed within the 30-day time period.

In 2012, when represented by counsel, Jordan filed his petition for post-conviction relief in order to file a belated appeal. The trial court denied his request without a hearing or specific findings.

“We decline to say that a post-conviction petitioner is at fault for failing to file a timely notice of appeal when his attorney becomes terminally ill shortly after the sentencing hearing, and the petitioner is incarcerated,” Judge John Baker wrote in Mark L. Jordan v. State of Indiana, 45A04-1212-CR-646.

The appellate judges found Jordan was not at fault for Work’s failure to timely file notice of appeal. Jordan was in prison and unaware of the circumstances, and his family believed that Work was preparing for the case during the time he was actually fighting cancer.

 

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  1. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

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