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Judges order new trial due to counsel’s deficient performance

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A Marion County man was prejudiced by his counsel’s error of not timely filing a request for a jury trial, so the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial on his Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction.

Willis Pryor was represented by four different public defenders by the time his bench trial began Jan. 23, 2012. He claimed that he asked for a jury trial at a Nov. 1, 2011, hearing, although he and his attorney at the time signed a form stating there would be a bench trial in January. A different attorney then filed Pryor’s request for a jury trial on Jan. 17, 2012, but inadvertently miscalculated the deadline date. The motion was denied as untimely, and Pryor was convicted at a bench trial.

The Court of Appeals reversed in Willis Pryor v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1202-CR-101, finding trial counsel’s failure to preserve Pryor’s right to a jury trial denied him effective assistance of counsel. His counsel’s performance was deficient and he was prejudiced by it. The judges cited Stevens v. State, 689 N.E.2d 487 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997), and Lewis v. State, 929 N.E.2d 261 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), in support of his argument that failure to file a timely demand was a mistake and not a choice or trial strategy by his attorney.

“Based upon the record, we find that the failure of Pryor’s counsel to timely file a written request for a jury trial fell below the range of professionally competent representation,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

 

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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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