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Indiana Supreme Court upholds death sentence

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The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to grant a twice-convicted death row inmate’s request for a new trial, upholding his convictions and penalty for murders that go back more than a decade.

Justices issued a unanimous decision today in Wayne D. Kubsch v. State of Indiana, No. 71S00-0708-PD-335, affirming a post-conviction relief denial from St. Joseph Superior Judge Jane Woodward Miller.

Charged in 1998 with murdering his wife, her ex-husband, and her 11-year-old son, Kubsch was first convicted and sentenced to death in 2000, but that was reversed on appeal. A second trial resulting in his conviction and death sentence came in 2005, and the Supreme Court upheld that on direct appeal in 2007.

Kubsch sought a third trial on claims that the judge shouldn’t have allowed hearsay testimony – about him bragging while in the in the county jail about killing a child, and that an insurance official’s testimony that the company didn’t pay out benefits for his wife’s death – was improper.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Dec. 22, 2009.

Justice Robert D. Rucker wrote the unanimous opinion, which not only delved into the testimony issues but also addressed other matters such as ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and other evidentiary errors at trial. Nine of the issues were waived because they were known and available at the time of Kubsch’s direct appeal, Justice Rucker wrote, and another three issues are barred because of the doctrine of res judicata.

 

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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