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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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