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Judge again finds death row inmate competent

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A federal judge in Indianapolis has found that a death row inmate is competent to assist his attorneys and proceed with a five-year-old habeas appeal that's been stayed twice because of mental health concerns.

The ruling Tuesday from U.S. Judge Larry J. McKinney clears the way for habeas proceedings against condemned inmate Eric Holmes, who was sentenced to die in 1992 by Special Judge Cynthia Emkes for the 1989 double murder and robbery of his former managers at Shoney's Restaurant in Castleton.

After exhausting his appeals in state courts, Holmes in 2004 filed a habeas corpus petition in the Southern District of Indiana, which denied the writ request that year. But Holmes appealed based on grounds that he wasn't competent, and the 7th Circuit twice remanded the question to the trial level to determine that issue. The second remand was October 2007 and now Judge McKinney has again determined Holmes is competent to proceed with the habeas appeal.

Citing other civil actions Holmes has filed and testimony he's given showing an understanding of his legal position, as well as how Holmes' counsel hasn't outlined how the client would need to assist them, Judge McKinney determined that Holmes "does not experience symptoms or cognitive condition which affect his ability to provide such assistance to counsel as is necessary to enable the claim to habeas corpus relief to be prosecuted adequately by his counsel in the pending appeal."

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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