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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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