Death Penalty

Jury selection scheduled in killing of Gary police officer

March 10, 2016
 Associated Press
Jury selection has been scheduled to begin in January in the trial of a man accused of killing of a Gary police officer.
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Supreme Court denies hearing Indiana death penalty case

March 2, 2016
IL Staff
The United States Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari filed in the case of Tommy Pruitt, meaning the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that reversed the death penalty for Pruitt will stand.
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SCOTUS rejects Evansville SWAT raid, death penalty appeals

February 29, 2016
Dave Stafford
A 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the city of Evansville for a bungled SWAT raid will stand, as will the death sentence of a Gary man convicted in the 2007 shooting deaths of his wife and two stepchildren. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear those appeals Monday.
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Justices: Kentucky death sentence wrongly overturned

December 14, 2015
 Associated Press
Justices ruled Monday that a federal appeals court was wrong to overturn Roger Wheeler's sentence based on the exclusion of a juror who expressed reservations about the death penalty.
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New Albany man challenges death sentence in 2012 murder

December 10, 2015
 Associated Press
An attorney for a southern Indiana man convicted of killing three women argued Thursday that his death sentence in one of the slayings should be thrown out because the judge didn't sufficiently consider the importance of his confession.
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Suspected killer cancels request to represent himself

November 19, 2015
 Associated Press
A northwest Indiana man charged with strangling two women has decided not to represent himself during his upcoming trial.
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Gary man charged with killing 2 seeks to represent himself

November 17, 2015
 Associated Press
A northwest Indiana man charged with strangling two women and who could face the death penalty if convicted is asking a judge to allow him to represent himself during the trial.
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Murder exonoree to speak at IU McKinney

November 11, 2015
IL Staff
An Ohio man sentenced to death for the 1975 murder of a money-order salesman in Cleveland and later declared innocent in 2015 will speak at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Friday.
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Supreme Court troubled by DA's rejection of black jurors

November 3, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States appears troubled by the actions of a Georgia prosecutor in disqualifying all the black prospective jurors from the death penalty trial of a black teenager who was accused of killing an elderly white woman.
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Attorney general wants SCOTUS to reinstate death penalty

October 27, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Tuesday that he is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to reinstate the death penalty for Tommy R. Pruitt, who was convicted in the 2001 murder of a Morgan County sheriff’s deputy.
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Supreme Court affirms death sentence for Floyd County man

September 24, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion during the selection of jurors for the murder trial of William Clyde Gibson II, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed his death penalty sentence.
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7th Circuit divided over appeal from death row inmate

August 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A split 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an inmate on Indiana’s death row a chance for a new trial, finding the exclusion of a witness’s videotaped interview which could have possibly exonerated him was inadmissible as hearsay.
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Justices allow new hearings in North Carolina capital cases

June 29, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States has left in place lower court rulings ordering hearings over jurors in two North Carolina death penalty trials who reached beyond the jury room for biblical references to help their deliberations.
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AG may appeal death penalty reversal in deputy’s slaying

June 3, 2015
IL Staff
The state is considering whether it will appeal a federal court ruling Tuesday that reversed the death penalty imposed on a man convicted of killing a Morgan County deputy sheriff nearly 14 years ago.
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Death sentence reversed in 2001 slaying of Morgan deputy

June 2, 2015
Dave Stafford
The death sentence imposed on a man for the killing Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Starnes in 2001 has been reversed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Boston Marathon bomber to be sentenced June 24

May 28, 2015
 Associated Press
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death on June 24.
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Justices find nature of murders supports death penalty

May 20, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Gary man who shot and killed his wife and her two children at close range will remain on death row, the Indiana Supreme Court concluded Wednesday.
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Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death

May 15, 2015
 Associated Press
A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a "kid" who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.
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Split 7th Circuit allows death penalty challenge asserting intellectual disability

May 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
A killer sentenced in Texas and awaiting execution on federal death row in Terre Haute will be allowed to proceed with efforts to present new evidence of intellectual disability that would make him ineligible for capital punishment, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals en banc review determined in a 6-5 opinion.
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Death penalty sought in suspected serial killings

April 17, 2015
 Associated Press
Prosecutors in Crown Point are seeking the death penalty against a Gary man charged in the slayings of two women and suspected in the deaths of five others.
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High court to hear Kansas plea to reinstate death sentences

March 30, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States agreed Monday to hear Kansas' appeal to reinstate death sentences for two brothers in the fatal shootings of four people and for another man convicted of killing a couple.
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Tsarnaev's lawyer admits client carried out Boston bombing

March 4, 2015
 Associated Press
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went on trial for his life Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing with his own lawyer bluntly telling the jury he committed the crime. But she argued that he had fallen under the influence of his older brother.
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Justices affirm death penalty for man who killed 2 children

February 18, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Vanderburgh County man convicted of the murders of his girlfriend’s eight- and five-year-old children after setting fire to hishome in 2010 will remain on death row. The Indiana Supreme Court declined to reverse his convictions or revise his sentence.
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Valparaiso Law Dean Andrea Lyon built a career battling the death penalty

January 28, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Lyon remains a passionate, unwavering opponent of capital punishment. Her career path has turned from the courtroom to education. The dean of Valparaiso University Law School maintains a strong connection to death penalty work.
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'Dead Man Walking' author calls for judicial reform

January 28, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Sister Helen Prejean, at a recent talk at Valparaiso University, called the death penalty process "unjust."
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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