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Man can't prove ineffective assistance from attorney

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, in which he claimed his trial counsel was ineffective.

Leondre Woodson argued his attorney should have objected at trial to the admission of evidence related to the search of the rental car Woodson was a passenger in, which failed to preserve the issue for direct appeal. He argued that the continued police detention and investigation beyond writing a traffic ticket violated the Indiana Constitution, and that he didn’t have authority to consent to the search of the car.

Chinedu Onyeji rented a car, and he and Woodson were stopped by police for speeding in Bloomington. When the police officer saw a gun in the glove compartment of the car, he called for backup until he could check to determine if the handgun was stolen. Onyeji had a valid permit for the gun, and both men claimed the car was rented so they could drive to Gary to get a copy of Woodson’s birth certificate. Because Onyeji owned a car and the men appeared nervous, police thought they may be involved in narcotics activity. Onyeji declined to allow police to search the car, but Woodson gave them permission. A gun and drugs were found in the trunk, and Woodson was charged on various drug and weapons counts.

Woodson filed a motion to suppress the evidence in the trunk, which was denied. His attorney did not renew any objection to the evidence at trial. Woodson was convicted of three of the charges. On direct appeal, the possession of cocaine while in the possession of a firearm conviction was vacated, but the 20-year sentence was upheld.

Ruling on his PCR petition, which was denied by the post-conviction court, the Court of Appeals in Leondre Woodson v. State of Indiana, No. 53A01-1109-PC-466, found Woodson didn’t establish that he received ineffective assistance from his attorney. At all points of the traffic stop, police were justified in having at lease a reasonably high degree of concern or suspicion that some kind of criminal activity may be happening, wrote Judge Cale Bradford. The intrusion of the detention before the search was minimal and the need to maintain officer safety was implicated in this case.

The appellate judges also rejected Woodson’s claim that his consent to search the rental car was invalid because he didn’t have actual or apparent authority to give that consent.


 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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