murder

Justices leave man’s life sentence intact

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a Lake County man’s sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder of a co-worker during a robbery. Ronnie Jamel Rice claimed the trial court improperly relied on non-statutory aggravators when imposing his sentence.
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Miranda warning given during police interview makes confession admissible

March 11, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s confession made during a police interrogation is admissible because while officers questioned the defendant in what they called a “pre-interview,” they Mirandized him before he confessed.
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Judge orders Floyd County to pay Camm defense attorneys’ bills

February 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The dispute over trial expenses between the attorneys representing David Camm and Floyd County came closer to a resolution Wednesday with Judge Jonathan Dartt ordering the county auditor to pay about $140,000.
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Killer’s 50-year conspiracy sentence vacated as double jeopardy

February 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
The sentence of a man convicted of killing his ex-wife was reduced by 50 years Tuesday when the Indiana Court of Appeals granted in part his petition for post-conviction relief.
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Explanation as to the spirit of the law was harmless error

February 11, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a trial court’s words to a jury about the spirit of Indiana’s criminal law was improper and an error, it was harmless and could not overturn a defendant’s sentence of life without parole.
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Every defendant has a story

January 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
After 11 grueling years on the high-profile Camm murder case, attorney Stacy Uliana believes justice was served.
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COA finds attorney was not ineffective

January 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding he failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel with respect to either the manner in which voir dire was conducted or in the failure to object to the supplemental jury instruction defining “intentionally.”
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Erroneous instruction on accomplice liability not enough to get conviction overturned

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has split on whether erroneous jury instruction was a harmless error or gave the jurors another base for finding a defendant guilty of attempted murder.
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Court upholds suppression of mentally ill man’s confession

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson

Citing an inadequate Miranda warning and the mental illness a murder suspect has, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of the defendant’s motion to suppress confessions that he murdered two women. 

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Accomplice’s murder conviction upheld

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who threatened that her baby’s father and his brother would kill the man who punched her several times had her conviction of murder upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. She sat in a car while with the boyfriend and his brother killed the man.
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Life sentence upheld for man who killed neighbor

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a man’s claims that certain photos of a murder victim should not have been admitted at his trial. The justices upheld Tyrice Halliburton’s life without parole sentence for the murder of Sheena Kiska.
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Sentenced as adult at 12, new plea may free Gingerich at 18

December 3, 2013
Dave Stafford
A boy who at age 12 was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and improperly sentenced as an adult to serve 25 years in prison may be freed when he turns 18, according to a pending plea agreement.
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Partially bifurcating trial prevented prejudice

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s argument that he was prejudiced by a trial court’s decision to not fully bifurcate his murder trial failed in the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices take homeschooling-group expulsion case

October 28, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases, including one involving a homeschooling group that presented an issue of first impression regarding education under civil rights law.
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COA upholds denial of convicted murderer’s motion to dismiss

October 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that murder charges should have been dismissed based on a plea agreement he made with the state, finding no error by the trial court in allowing the jury to decide whether the defendant’s testimony was credible. The plea agreement preventing prosecution for murder would be in effect only if the defendant met certain criteria.
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Jury finds David Camm not guilty of murder

October 24, 2013
IL Staff
After 13 years and three murder trials, David Camm has been found not guilty of murdering his wife and two young children.
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Overwhelming evidence of guilt trumps defendant’s post-conviction claims

October 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a northern Indiana man’s life without parole sentence for killing a police officer in 1997, finding the post-conviction court did not err when it denied him a new trial.
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Double jeopardy does not prohibit state from retrying defendant on lesser charge

September 12, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a man’s conviction was overturned, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled he can still be retried on the same charge without violating double jeopardy prohibitions because “a rational jury” would have considered more than one element of the crime.
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Accused murderers likely to stay in jail awaiting trial

August 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
When the Indiana Supreme Court upended 150 years of precedent concerning murder defendants, it raised eyebrows and stirred debate but, in practice, the impact of the opinion is expected to be very limited.
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Judge sets decorum rules for Shuai trial

August 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
Anticipating a high-profile, weeks-long trial beginning after Labor Day, a Marion County judge Friday laid down rules for public and media decorum in the criminal case against Bei Bei Shuai.
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Judge issues gag order in Bei Bei Shuai case

July 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
The judge in the case of a woman charged with murder and attempted feticide in the death of her newborn daughter on Friday ordered prosecutors, defense attorneys and others involved in the case not to speak about it outside court.
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‘Am I going to need an attorney?’ is not request for attorney, rules COA

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A suspect’s question during interrogation as to whether he’d need an attorney is not considered a request for an attorney, thus requiring police to stop interrogating him, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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7th Circuit: Attorney’s deficient performance prejudiced defendant

July 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that an appellate attorney opted for a “hopeless sufficiency challenge” instead of the obvious claim challenging the validity of an amended information that elevated a charge to murder, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial by the federal court of the man’s petition for writ of habeas corpus.
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Indiana Supreme Court endorses new jury instructions for mentally ill defendants

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Although it affirmed the judgment of the post-conviction court in denying relief, the Indiana Supreme Court endorsed a change in jury instructions regarding mentally ill defendants.
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Court upholds Sturgis’ conviction for murder of son

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
St. Joseph County resident Jerry L. Sturgis Sr. lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that challenged convictions stemming from the beatings and abuse of three of his children, leading to the death of his 10-year-old son in 2011.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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