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Justices uphold Baer's death penalty

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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.
 

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  • 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.

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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