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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. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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