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Justices grant new avenue for relief for killer claiming insanity

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A man condemned for the 1997 rape and murder of an 18-year-old Franklin College student is entitled to a new avenue of post-conviction relief on his argument that he is not mentally competent to be executed, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Michael Dean Overstreet’s death sentence remains in force for his conviction in the killing of Kelly Eckart after unsuccessful post-conviction relief pleadings in state and federal courts. Evidence of Overstreet’s competence, including a forensic psychiatrist’s evaluation, led justices to authorize further arguments in Johnson Superior Court that could modify his death sentence.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Rahn K. Bailey, opined that “Overstreet does not have, and does not have the ability to produce, a rational understanding of why the State of Indiana plans to execute him,” Justice Robert Rucker wrote in the order.

The unanimous order denied oral argument before the justices but authorized filing by Sept. 13 of a successive petition for post-conviction relief “for the purpose of presenting the claim that Overstreet is not currently competent to be executed.” A final judgment on the post-conviction petition must be entered by March 3, 2014, justices ordered.

The court relied on its earlier PCR proceeding, Overstreet v. State, 877 N.E.2d 144, 172 (Ind. 2007), as well as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930, 127 S.Ct. 2842, 168 L.Ed.2d 662 (2007) for guidance in setting a new round of sentencing review.

Eckart’s parents, Dale and Connie Sutton, told IL in 2011 that they believe the death sentence was appropriate for Overstreet. He remains one of 13 inmates on death row at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, according to the Department of Correction.



 
 

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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