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Man to get new trial because of counsel’s performance

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Because the extent of prior bad acts admitted into evidence during a man’s trial in Hancock County was “breathtaking,” the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered he be retried on burglary and handgun charges.

Michael Williams Jr. was convicted of Class B felonies burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license. Williams, along with two other men, agreed to break into the home of Gregory Peek to steal marijuana, money and guns from him. Williams was the only one who entered the home and was later taken into custody by police.

A “deluge” of Williams’ previous criminal acts were admitted into evidence without objection and used by the state to argue that Williams had a propensity to commit the crimes for which he was charged. That evidence included previous felony convictions for possession of cocaine and a firearm, an arrest for possession of marijuana and carrying a handgun without a license, and various other offenses Williams admitted to a police officer that he had committed.

Williams’ attorney never objected to the admission of this evidence, which was inadmissible under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b), the judges held, so her performance was deficient. And Williams was prejudiced by her poor performance.

“We are not confident that without the evidence of Williams’ prior crimes and gun-related acts the result of the proceeding would have been the same. Learning of an extensive criminal history of an accused surely weighs heavily on the minds of jurors,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in Michael Williams, Jr. v. State of Indiana, 30A01-1207-CR-305.

She pointed out that the state also systematically elicited improper testimony and ultimately encouraged the jury to convict Williams on that basis.

The COA reversed the convictions and ruled that Williams can be retried on the three charges.  

 

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  1. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

  5. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

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