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Justice's first ruling affirms murder convictions, life sentence

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Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David issued his first decision as a member of the state’s highest court, affirming a life without parole sentence in a murder case out of Hamilton County.

The unanimous 10-page ruling came today in Anthony D. Delarosa v. State of Indiana, No. 29S00-0911-CR-531, which stems from the April 2007 murders of Rebecca Payne and her boyfriend, George Benner, in her home in Home Place. Evidence at trial established that Delarosa from Zionsville was connected to Payne’s estranged husband, who had coordinated the shooting.

A jury found Delarosa guilty of two counts of murder and one conspiracy count. Delarosa left his penalty in the hands of Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation when waiving his right to a jury trial for sentencing. The judge imposed a life without parole sentence for the murder convictions and a consecutive 50-year sentence on the conspiracy conviction.

On direct appeal of the three counts, Delarosa argued the trial court erred in admitting certain statements he contended were hearsay, that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions, and that the state committed prosecutorial misconduct in closing arguments about what Delarosa had said.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in May, about two weeks before Justice Theodore R. Boehm announced he’d be stepping down. Justice David succeeded him in October, and this is his first published ruling as a state justice.

Going through each of the appellate issues raised, Judge David wrote that the trial judge didn’t err and used specific caselaw on point for each issue. He wrote that the state’s evidence bolstered their case and that even the claimed error about admitting testimony didn’t make a fair trial impossible and doesn’t rise to the level of fundamental error. The record shows the evidence was sufficient to convict him on the two murders. Delarosa failed to preserve the prosecutorial misconduct claim, but even if he had the record doesn’t reveal he’d be entitled to any relief, Justice David wrote.
 

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  1. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  2. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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  4. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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