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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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