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Justices divided over vacating transfer in case seeking severance of offenses

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Justice Robert Rucker wrote an 11-page dissent from his colleagues after three justices decided to vacate transfer to an appeal stemming from charges involving the alleged sexual assault of four victims.

Quanardel Wells was charged in 2009 in an 11-count information with various offenses arising out of the alleged assault of four victims on four different occasions. He sought interlocutory review of the trial court’s order denying his motion for severance of offenses pursuant to Indiana Code 35-41-1-11. In September 2011, the Court of Appeals upheld the denial of Wells’ motion to sever over his arguments that he is entitled to the severance of the charges in order to promote a fair determination of the merits of his case.

The justices granted transfer on Feb. 2, 2012, but Justices Steven David, Mark Massa and Loretta Rush decided to vacate transfer Feb. 21 after further review.

In his dissent, joined by Chief Justice Brent Dickson, Rucker believed this case provided the justices “the opportunity to provide guidance and clarity on an area of the law in need of both.”

He discussed the interplay between statutory severance and the Indiana Rules of Evidence. Rucker would grant transfer and remand to the trial court for a hearing to determine whether the offenses with respect to each alleged victim are of the same or similar character; whether evidence of each of the offenses is relevant to some material issue at trial of all the other offenses under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b); and whether the evidence of the other offenses even though relevant should be excluded under Indiana Evidence Rule 403.

If the hearing reveals that evidence of the offenses for which Wells is charged would be inadmissible in separate trials of the same offenses, then he would be entitled to severance as a matter of right under Indiana Code 35-34-1-1. Otherwise Wells would not be so entitled, he wrote.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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