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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.  

 

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  • 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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      3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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