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Life sentence upheld by Court of Appeals

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A Grant County man who killed his ex-wife in the middle of the night after breaking into her Marion home will spend the rest of his life in prison, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The judges affirmed the denial of Fred Laux’s petition for post-conviction relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel.

Laux claimed on appeal that his trial counsel was ineffective for, among other things, failing to properly question a juror regarding bias and not adequately preparing for the penalty phase of his trial. Laux also argued that his appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising all of the alleged errors on direct appeal.

In Fredrick Allen Laux v. State of Indiana, 27A04-1205-PC-269, the Court of Appeals found that Laux failed to show he received ineffective assistance from either counsel.

The record in this case indicates that the juror – who had been a crime victim – was objective and competent and prepared to follow the law as the trial court would instruct, the judges held.

Regarding the penalty phase, they found that the state properly moved to have all the evidence from the guilt phase admitted at the penalty phase, and that the jury was properly instructed that it could only consider the charged aggravator as weighing in favor of a life without parole sentence and not victim impact evidence.

“In sum, we conclude that Laux was provided effective representation of counsel at the penalty phase. Moreover, Laux merely restates his claims about the ineffectiveness of trial counsel and alleges that appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising the issues on appeal under the doctrine fundamental error,” Judge John Baker wrote.

“As the post-conviction court properly found, because trial counsel was not deficient and/or that any deficiency was not prejudicial, appellate counsel was not deficient for failing to raise Laux’s alleged claims of error on appeal. In other words, Laux does not demonstrate how the result of his direct appeal would have been different had these issues been raised. Therefore, it cannot be said that Laux’s appellate counsel was ineffective. As a result, the post-conviction court properly denied Laux’s request for relief.”

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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