ILNews

Justices uphold Baer's death penalty

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed the denial of a murderer’s petition for post-conviction relief, leaving his death sentence in place.

Fredrick Michael Baer was found guilty of murdering Cory Clark and her 4-year-old daughter in February 2004. At trial, Baer pled guilty but mentally ill and was examined by two court-appointed mental-health experts. The court rejected his plea because the reports by the experts didn’t sufficiently state he was mentally ill at the time of the crime.

Baer pled guilty but mentally ill with the intent that he wouldn’t be sentenced to death, believing those who are mentally ill at the time they commit the crime couldn’t be given the death penalty. He never claimed to be insane. The justices first upheld the sentence in May 2007.

In Fredrick Michael Baer v. State of Indiana, No. 48S00-0709-PD-362, the justices again upheld Baer’s sentence following the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Baer raised 103 allegations before the post-conviction court that dealt with prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, the rejection of his guilty but mentally ill plea, cruel and unusual punishment based on the state’s method of execution, and a challenge to his death sentence based on being mentally ill.

In the 37-page decision authored by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, the justices only touched on a few of Baer’s 103 contentions, noting that they did consider all of them. In regards to his trial counsel, Baer’s attorney was not ineffective regarding timely and comprehensive mental-health evaluations, in his attempt to plead guilty but mentally ill, failure to seek a continuance or conduct adequate jury selection, in his presentation of the guilty but mentally ill plea at the guilt phase, or in his cross examination of one of the doctors who examined Baer. The trial counsel wasn’t deficient by not objecting to the use of projected crime scene photographs on a large screen, by not objecting to certain jury instructions, or in presenting or investigating mitigating evidence.

The justices held his appellate counsel, Mark Maynard, wasn’t ineffective. Baer argued that Maynard inadequately challenged the appropriateness of Baer’s death sentence.

“As for whether Maynard should have tried to break new ground, the U.S. Supreme Court has never held that the U.S. Constitution precludes executing the mentally ill,” wrote the chief justice.” In fact, this Court has expressly held that the U.S. Constitution does not, and we have held, with one dissent, that the Indiana Constitution does permit the State to execute the mentally ill.”

They also found Maynard wasn’t ineffective for not challenging the trial court’s rejection of Baer’s guilty but mentally ill plea, not challenging the admission of Baer’s knife into evidence, not raising a Crawford claim, or in not challenging certain penalty-phase jury instructions.

The Supreme Court also held that testimony regarding Baer’s psychosis by Earl Taylor, a former fellow inmate of Baer’s from the 1990s, is not newly discovered evidence and that the Eighth Amendment doesn’t bar the application of the death penalty on grounds of retardation.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Baer: The Manipulating Con Goes On
    It's now early May 2014. Ten years since Baer forced his way into the home of a young mother and her child. Baer brutally and intentionally wrenched the lives out of two innocents, for no good reason. In the meantime, Baer continues his manipulation of the American Judiciary which, is allowing Baer his continued persistent torture of the innocent husband and father left behind. End this now. For everyones sake.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

ADVERTISEMENT