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Judges reverse teen’s conspiracy to commit murder conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed Paul Henry Gingerich’s conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder, finding the Kosciusko juvenile court abused its discretion in denying the then-12-year-old’s request for a continuance of a waiver hearing.

In April 2010, Gingerich and 15-year-old Colt Lundy shot and killed Lundy’s stepfather and then took off for Arizona. Police apprehended them in Illinois. At the time of the murder, Gingerich was a little over 5-feet tall, weighed 80 pounds and was a sixth grader.

At the April 22, 2010, probable cause hearing, the court set a hearing on the state’s motion to waive juvenile jurisdiction for April 29. Gingerich’s attorney sought a continuance to allow time to prepare witnesses, obtain a psychological evaluation of Gingerich, and review exhibits and reports, but the trial court denied the motion for continuance.

At the hearing, Gingerich’s attorney again sought a continuance, which was again denied. A county probation officer testified that there was only one facility that could take a juvenile convicted of homicide. The officer misstated that there is no parole in the juvenile Department of Corrections and other facts pertaining to juvenile law. Gingerich and Lundy were waived into adult court and Gingerich eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder.

The Marion County Public Defender Agency and the Children’s Law Center filed amicus curiae briefs in the case. The MCPDA in its brief argued that a full investigation is a necessary and statutorily required prerequisite to a wavier, and that juveniles in Marion County who face being waved into adult court typically get at least three months to investigate and prepare for the hearing. The CLC also argued that juveniles should have time to prepare for a waiver hearing.

The state claimed, among other things, that Gingerich hasn’t shown that he was prejudiced by the denial of his continuance, and that by pleading guilty, Gingerich “tacitly admit[ted] that he could not have met his statutory burden.”

“We note that Ind. Code § 31-30-3-4 implicates valid liberty interests held by Gingerich. As he notes, Ind. Code § 31-30-1-1 vests ‘exclusive original jurisdiction’ in the juvenile court over a child who is alleged to, before becoming eighteen years of age, commit a delinquent act,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the court. “Also, Ind. Code § 31-30-3-4 provides for a ‘full investigation and hearing’ prior to juvenile jurisdiction being waived.

“Thus, at the outset of the filing of the delinquency petition Gingerich enjoyed the panoply of protections associated with being tried in the juvenile system, and he was entitled to a full investigation and hearing prior to the court ordering waiver. Accordingly, Gingerich’s liberty was at stake when the State moved to waive Gingerich into adult court.”

The judges ordered further proceedings on the matter consistent with their opinion, Paul Henry Gingerich v. State of Indiana, 43A05-1101-CR-27.
 

 

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  • Unconstitutional
    Most prosecutors are idiots and seek to convict at any cost without regard to guilt or innocence. Prosecutors lie, manufacture evidence, withhold evidence benefical to defendants even when they know that defendants are innocent, all under protection from lawsuits and prosecution. In effect prosecutors are above the law! WAKE UP AMERICA AND STAND UP AND SPEAK UP FOR JUSTICE

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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