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Justices rule on Post-Conviction Rule 2

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The Indiana Supreme Court was divided in two ways in a case involving Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 2: on what standard to use to judge the performance of PCR 2 counsel and whether a defendant should be allowed to appeal the denial of his petition to file a belated direct appeal.

In Antoine Hill v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-1105-PC-283, Antoine Hill’s attorney, Tasha Reed, filed a PCR 2 petition, asking permission to file a belated notice of appeal of Hill’s 52-year sentence following a guilty plea. The trial court denied permission and Reed did not timely appeal the denial. Through a different counsel, Hill filed a PCR 1 petition, alleging that Reed was ineffective for not timely appealing the denial of permission to file a belated notice of appeal. The trial court denied the petition, concluding that Hill couldn’t satisfy the ineffective assistance of counsel test set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and ordered the trial court to grant the PCR 1 petition so Hill could appeal the denial of his PCR petition. The COA also used the standard set forth in Baum v. State, 533 N.E.2d 1200 (Ind. 1989), to hold that Reed’s performance prevented Hill from appealing the PCR 2 petition denial.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Brent Dickson, Robert Rucker and Steven David – who authored the majority opinion – agreed that the attorney performance standard from Baum should be used to judge the performance of a PCR 2 counsel. Shepard, David and Dickson held that Reed in this case didn’t violate Baum because she represented Hill in a procedurally fair setting which resulted in a judgment of the court.

Rucker dissented on this point, agreeing with the COA decision that would allow Hill to appeal the denial of his petition to file a belated appeal.

Justice Frank Sullivan concurred in result with the majority in affirming the denial of Hill’s PCR 1 petition, but wrote separately to dissent from the standard used by the other justices. He is in favor of using the standard outlined in Strickland.

 

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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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