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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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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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