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.


  • Fredrick bear
    Sooner he excited the better it will be for everyone
  • How much longer?
    Baer filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit on April 30 2015. When will this be decided? How many more appeals does this guy have? Unbelievable this is dragging on like this.
  • 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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues