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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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