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Overwhelming evidence of guilt trumps defendant’s post-conviction claims

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a northern Indiana man’s life without parole sentence for killing a police officer in 1997, finding the post-conviction court did not err when it denied him a new trial.

Gregory Dickens was 16 years old when he shot and killed Corporal Paul Deguch on a porch after Deguch approached Dickens believing he had a stolen bicycle. A jury found Dickens guilty, and the trial court imposed the life sentence upon recommendation of the jury.

Dickens sought a new trial on three grounds: there was newly discovered evidence; the state withheld evidence from the defense in violation of Brady v. Maryland, and his trial counsel was ineffective.

Dickens claimed a report issued by the National Research Counsel completed after his trial established the previously accepted and relied upon comparative bullet lead analysis conducted by the FBI was unreliable. This would render inadmissible testimony from FBI forensic examiner Charles Peters about the CBLA conducted on bullets at his trial.

“The post-conviction court found that in light of the findings contained in the NRC report, Peters’s testimony regarding the CBLA would not likely be admissible at retrial. Although the exclusion of the CBLA evidence might have weakened the State’s case, Dickens has not shown that the exclusion of the CBLA evidence, without more, would make it probable that a different result would be produced at retrial,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in Gregory Dickens v. State of Indiana, 71A03-1304-PC-101.

The state was able to provided overwhelming evidence – including eyewitness testimony – to prove Dickens’ guilt, the court noted. This evidence also overrides his claim that the state knew about the reliability problems of the CBLA but didn’t inform his trial counsel, which led to a reasonable probability that the trial would have a different outcome.

The judges also found his trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to Dickens’ wearing of a stun belt during trial. He had a history of violence and attempted flight from police.

“Unlike shackles, which when worn are readily visible, a stun belt is worn under clothing and is, in most cases, unlikely to be visible to the members of the jury. Here, nothing in the record suggests that any member of the jury actually saw the stun belt,” Bradford wrote.
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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