Man can't prove ineffective lawyer assistance

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding neither his trial nor appellate counsel were ineffective in his case involving a voluntary manslaughter conviction.

Ashanti Clemons was questioned by police for the 2005 shooting of Prentice Webster. Clemons signed the advice of rights/waiver of rights form and claimed he understood the statements on the form. Clemons admitted to carrying a gun without a license and that he fired the gun. The state charged him with Class A felony voluntary manslaughter and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license. At his first trial, he was convicted of the handgun charge, which he appealed, arguing the trial court shouldn’t have admitted his statements to the police. Clemons claimed police didn’t stop the interview when he requested counsel. The trial court held Clemons’ comments didn’t constitute an unequivocal request for an attorney.

On retrial, he was convicted of the manslaughter charge, which the COA previously affirmed. His appellate counsel did not seek transfer.

In Ashanti Clemons v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1108-PC-737, Clemons claims that Brian Lamar, his trial attorney, was ineffective because he conceded that Clemons’ request for counsel during the interrogation was equivocal and because he didn’t get school records before the first trial to prove Clemons has a low IQ.

The COA agreed with the decision by another panel of the court on Clemons’ direct appeal that his statements weren’t an unequivocal request for counsel, so he can’t prove that Lamar performed deficiently on this point. The appellate court also found that Lamar attempted to obtain the school records before the first trial but was unable to secure them through no fault of his own.

Clemons also didn’t prove that his appellate attorney, Julie Slaughter, was ineffective for not filing a petition to transfer from his voluntary manslaughter conviction. Clemons may still seek review by the Indiana Supreme Court by appealing the instant decision, so he has not been procedurally defaulted, the judges ruled.



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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.