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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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