Statute of limitations did not run out on charging man with attempted bank robbery

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A northern Indiana man’s conviction for attempted bank robbery stands after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the five-year statute of limitations to bring the charge began tolling under an exception involving DNA testing.

William Hagler and his brother Shawn stole a car and attempted to rob a bank in Woodburn, Ind., in 2000. They wore gloves and masks during the attempted robbery. When they discovered they couldn’t open the bank vault, they fled empty handed. Police later found the stolen car with some items the two wore during the robbery and tested them for DNA evidence. At the time, no definitive hits came up.

But when the Indiana State Police upgraded its DNA testing equipment in 2008, it retested the evidence, which led to a hit on Hagler. A print in the car matched Hagler as did a sample taken from a mask in the car. He and his brother were indicted in July 2010 and Hagler was convicted of attempted robbery. His brother's case is still pending.

In United States of America v. William Hagler, 11-2984, the judges focused on an exception outlined in 18 U.S.C. 3297 indicating in cases of DNA testing that implicates an identified person in the commission of a felony, the five-year statute of limitations begins when that testing is performed. Hagler argued that because DNA testing was done sometime in 2002, he had to be indicted by 2007; the government claimed that the clock didn’t start until the 2008 test that specifically identified Hagler. The judges agreed with the government’s argument.

The 7th Circuit found no excessive pretrial delay, as Hagler argued, and that the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction. The bank provided evidence through an FDIC insurance certificate and an employee’s testimony to show it was federally protected at the time of the attempted robbery. In addition, the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in not granting Hagler’s motion for a new trial based on his claim that DNA testing in 2011 showed inconclusive matches on clothing found in the getaway car.

But Hagler’s fingerprint was found inside the car and his DNA was found inside of it, Judge Michael Kanne wrote, which is powerful evidence against him.  



  • Government always makes up the rules as they go along
    Soon all of our rights and freedoms will be gone. We need to vote these bums out and replace them with politicians that believe in the constitution. Shame on any scum ball prosecutor that would use this DNA loophole for any crime less serious than robbery, arson, rape, or manslaughter. To use this loophole on a low level offender would be a waste of time and money. Of course they don't care its not their money.
  • NO more rules for government
    These federal prosecutors and judges have all the time in the world to second -guess other peoples actions. Now with this new DNA loophole they literally have a defendants entire lifetime to bring their case on a bogus charge. They make over $200,000.00 a year to send people to prison and fine them up to $250,000.00 per criminal count. Not to mention their gold platted retirement and benefit plans. In 1994, the Democrat controlled congress amended the federal criminal code to allow the feds to seize all of your assets upon even a misdemeanor federal conviction. And the Republicans are also just as bad on civil liberties. Law enforcement are over paid thugs.
  • corrupt leaders
    I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.
  • Power hungry
    Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.
    • Pharisees redux
      Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.
    • Government breaks its own rules
      Well, I agree with you that the people need to wake up and see what our judges and politicians have done to our rights and freedoms. This DNA loophole in the statute of limitations is clearly unconstitutional. Why should dna evidence be treated different than video tape evidence for example. So if you commit a crime and they catch you on tape or if you confess or leave prints behind: they only have five years to bring their case. However, if dna identifies someone they can still bring a case even fifty-years later. where is the common sense and reason. Members of congress are corrupt fools. They should all be kicked out of office and replaced by people who respect the constitution.
      • I agree
        It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!
      • COA
        This is a simple case where the COA states the law means what they want it to mean. If DNA testing was done in 2002 without any conclusive results unti 2008, the case should have been diposed of. People in this country had better wake up and make our law makers accountable. Article l, Sec.19 of the Indiana Constitution states that in all criminal cases whatever the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts. This means the jury can overrule any judge, the congress that continues to pass unconstitutional laws and even the supreme court!

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      1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

      2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

      3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

      4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

      5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.