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Justices uphold murderer's convictions

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The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed that a man will serve life in prison without parole for his role in the murders of seven people in Indianapolis in 2006.

Desmond Turner and James Stewart were convicted of seven counts of murder, robbery and other charges related to the shooting deaths of seven family members on Hamilton Avenue in Indianapolis. Turner received life in prison without parole plus 88 years; Stewart received a term of 425 years, which was later revised to 421 on appeal. A footnote revealed that the justices also entered an order denying Stewart’s petition to transfer. At issue in the instant case are Turner’s convictions.

He challenged the testimony of Indianapolis Marion County Forensic Services Agency firearms and tool mark examiner Michael Putzek dealing with the discovery of  critical tool marks on certain items found at the crime scene and at where Turner stayed after the murders. He also challenged the admittance of other testimony, as well as claimed that his right to confrontation was denied.

In Desmond Turner v. State of Indiana, No. 49S00-0912-CR-565, the justices rejected Turner’s claims that Putzek’s opinion on the tool marks of certain items were made by a common tool was improper because it didn’t meet Indiana Evidence Rule 702(b)’s threshold for scientific reliability, and that inconsistencies in the examination process rendered the results of the process unreliable. They weren’t persuaded by Turner’s argument that because there was no known suspect firearm in the case, expert testimony identifying fired cartridge casings to unfired cartridges based on tool marks on the case sidewall is inadmissible.

The high court also found Turner wasn’t denied the right to confrontation. Although the trial court erred in allowing testimony that Turner’s mother alledgedly relayed a message from Turner to a female friend of his, that error does not require reversal. A reasonable fact finder could have found by a reasonable doubt that Turner either actually committed or participated as an accomplice in the crimes for which he was convicted, wrote Justice Robert Rucker.
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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