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Gingerich reversal won’t get high court review

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A boy believed to be the youngest person convicted as an adult in Indiana will get a fresh start in juvenile court after the Indiana Supreme Court let stand a reversal of his conviction.

The justices on Thursday unanimously denied transfer asked for by the state in the case of Paul Henry Gingerich, who was 12 at the time he and an older boy shot and killed a Kosciusko County man. The Indiana Court of Appeals in December threw out the conviction for Gingerich, now 15.

“I’m very happy with this ruling,” Gingerich attorney Monica Foster of Indianapolis said Friday. “We came out of the appellate process 8-0, and that’s good momentum heading back to Kosciusko County.” Foster said she will continue to represent Gingerich pro bono in the new juvenile proceeding.

Gingerich pleaded guilty and was sentenced as an adult for his role as the younger co-defendant in the 2010 shooting death of Phillip Danner inside his home in Cromwell. Also convicted as an adult was Danner’s stepson, Colt Lundy, who was 15 at the time.

Kosciusko Circuit Judge Rex Reed ordered Gingerich sent to adult prison upon his conviction, but the Department of Correction used its discretion to instead send him to the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility because of his size. Gingerich was 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighed about 80 pounds at the time of his incarceration.

The case drew international attention because of Gingerich’s age and perceived injustice because, among other things, his defenders were allowed only five days to prepare for a waiver hearing from juvenile court.

“I think justice was done,” Foster said. “I think the appellate court worked very hard to resolve some difficult issues. … It’s time to do this thing right.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller appealed the Court of Appeals’ reversal, and in a statement his office said it would aggressively support the new prosecution.

“Having exhausted the appellate remedies, we will continue to work with the Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office in this difficult matter involving the violent taking of a human life by a juvenile,” said Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the AG’s office. “This offender’s age at the time of the crime prompted a necessary discussion about the rights of the accused, but no one should lose sight of the fact that there is still a deceased victim and the rights of crime victims also should be respected and protected.”

Read more about the Gingerich case in Indiana Lawyer.

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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