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Sentenced as adult at 12, new plea may free Gingerich at 18

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A boy who at age 12 was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and improperly sentenced as an adult to serve 25 years in prison may be freed when he turns 18, according to a pending plea agreement.

Paul H. Gingerich, now 15, would remain at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional facility and be freed after his 18th birthday if he meets terms of the agreement that still must be approved by a judge in Kosciusko County. Under the agreement, Gingerich will be eligible for release in February 2016.

The deal comes after Gingerich’s conviction was reversed on appeal because he was denied a full investigation and hearing before the juvenile court waived his case to adult court. His counsel also was denied continuances to prepare for a waiver hearing just days after Gingerich was charged. The Indiana Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeals decision.

Gingerich was convicted along with then-15-year-old Colt Lundy for his role in the shooting death of Lundy’s stepfather, Phillip Danner, in his home in Cromwell. Lundy had orchestrated a plan in which Gingerich and another 12-year-old boy would take Danner’s car and go to Arizona, where Lundy’s biological father lived.

Lundy signaled Gingerich to come inside the home then supplied him with a handgun, but Gingerich said he entered the house with the intention of talking the older boy out of going through with his plan to kill his stepfather.

In the deal signed by Gingerich, defense attorney Monica Foster and Kosciusko Prosecutor Daniel Hampton, Gingerich pleads guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit murder as a Class A felony and the state drops charges of murder and aiding, inducing and causing murder.

“We have progressed a long way from where we started and think this was a just result,” Foster said. “It was a tragic, terrible crime that occurred, but the prosecutor’s office, to their credit, was willing to look at all the facts.”

Those facts include the influence Lundy exerted over Gingerich, she said. “I’m not sure the older boy intended to intimidate him, it was just the nature of the relationship.”

The plea includes the same conviction and sentence imposed in adult court – 30 years with five suspended, plus credit for time served – but it sets a review hearing after Gingerich’s 18th birthday at which time the sentence may be suspended and a judge may order his release.

“The level necessary to restrict defendant’s freedom will be directly correlated to his successfulness in completing assigned rehabilitative programs and adherence to the rules and regulations of the program, the facility, and of society,” the plea agreement says.

A proposed transitional plan for Gingerich indicates he “is currently working towards his Academic Honors Diploma at Pendleton Juvenile.” He may enroll in college courses upon completion of his diploma, at which time he also may be considered for referral to a community residential group home, according to the plan. Both of those could happen by next summer, Foster said.

“He’s really been an extraordinary student at the Pendleton Juvenile Facility,” Foster said. “He’s been sort of a leader with the other students in helping them to do the right thing.”

Gingerich has also had the benefit of twice-weekly visits from his mother, Nicole, and frequent visits from his father, Paul, Foster said.

Foster said Gingerich’s formal sentencing is expected to take place in January.

Gingerich is believed to be the youngest offender ever sentenced as an adult in Indiana, and his case rallied opponents of tough sentencing for juveniles. Indiana Code 31-30-3-4, passed in 1997, allows children as young as 10 to be waived to adult court.

Karen Grau, president and executive producer of Indianapolis-based filmmakers Calimari Productions, said a new documentary on the Gingerich case is scheduled to air on the Lifetime Network soon, now that the case has been tentatively resolved. She said an airdate likely will be decided this week.

Grau also was involved in an earlier documentary focused on Gingerich and Lundy called “Young Kids, Hard Time”  that aired on MSNBC.

Like Gingerich, Lundy also was sentenced to 30 years with five suspended for his conviction of conspiracy to commit murder. Lundy is held at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. His projected release date is in 2022, according to the Department of Correction.

 
 

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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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