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Justices affirm life without parole for murderer

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed in all respects the life without parole sentence imposed on a man sentenced for murder.

Justice Loretta Rush wrote a unanimous opinion that rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony was improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his offense.

In Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana, 28S00-1305-LW-327, Rush wrote that Knapp and his de facto stepson Jeffrey Sims were meth addicts and that when Sims took his own life, Knapp blamed Stacey Lawson, Sims’ former girlfriend who had broken up with him.   
 
Knapp was arrested after Lawson’s body was found in a cemetery in Newark. The evidence trail against Knapp included phone messages saying he was “raged and crazed,” and was planning to meet Lawson and “I might beat her (expletive) brains out” and blame it on the meth.

Lawson died of massive head injuries.

“(O)ur collective judgment is that LWOP is not inappropriate in light of the nature of Defendant’s offense or his character as an offender,” Rush wrote for the court, calling his actions “calculated, premeditated and brutal.”

Knapp also has a criminal history dating to 1985, including convictions for drug and alcohol offenses, intimidation and battery causing bodily injury.

“And while we acknowledge Defendant’s genuine grief over Sims’ death, we find it minimally mitigating, because it appears to have been based at least in part on anger at being cut off from Sims’ finances,” Rush wrote. “He could have directed his indignation towards methamphetamine and the drug culture that helped bring about Sims’ death and Defendant’s own probation, but he directed it instead towards exacting brutal revenge.”

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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