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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. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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