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SCOTUS refuses to accept two Indiana cases

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The nation’s highest court has refused to take two Indiana cases, including the high-profile abuse and neglect case of 3-year-old TaJanay Bailey that revealed fatal flaws in the state’s child welfare system.

An order list issued today by the Supreme Court of the United States listed dozens of cases that the justices considered in a private conference late last week. Two from Indiana were listed: the state criminal appeal of Charity E. Bailey v. Indiana, No. 10-74847, and a habeas corpus petition in Russell W. Roach v. Jeff Wrigley, Superintendent, New Castle Correctional Facility, No. 10-639.

The Bailey case stems from the November 2007 killing of TaJanay Bailey, later identified in court documents only as T.B. The child was a ward of the state Department of Child Services and had a history of neglect and placement in foster care homes when she was temporarily returned to her mother. In less than three months she was fatally beaten to death by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. He pled guilty and received a 65-year sentence. Marion Superior Judge Kurt Eisgruber in May 2009 sentenced Charity Bailey to 35 years on a plea agreement for felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death and three felony counts of neglect of a dependent.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment in March 2010, writing that the record reflected that “Bailey is a self-absorbed and self-focused individual, and we cannot say that the 35-year sentence, which was an enhancement of only five years above the advisory sentence for a class A felony, was inappropriate.”

 She asked the Indiana Supreme Court to weigh in, but in June the justices denied transfer. In November, Bailey filed a writ of certiorari with the SCOTUS. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office waived its right to respond, and the justices ultimately rejected Bailey’s petition on Friday.

Bailey is currently in the Indiana Women’s Prison and is eligible for release in March 2025, according to the state Department of Corrections offender database online.

The SCOTUS also declined to hear the Roach appeal.

Last year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a habeas corpus petition denial by U.S. Chief Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana. Roach was convicted of murder in 1995 and the state courts have since upheld his sentences and denied any post-conviction relief. This paved the way for Roach’s federal claim alleging ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal, evidence insufficiency on his intent to kill, evidence and witness inadequacies at trial, and the lack of appellate review.

In December 2009, Chief Judge Young ordered that Roach wasn’t entitled to any relief, and the 7th Circuit upheld that decision in July by denying a request for a certificate of appealability. He filed a writ of certiorari in November and the state waived its right to respond before the SCOTUS denied the case on Friday.

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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