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Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to an ineffective assistance of trial counsel case and a case involving the testimony at trial of a previous victim of a defendant.

In John D. Farris v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-0805-PC-245, John Farris claimed he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel during his murder trial. Before his murder trial, he was found guilty of robbery and found to be a habitual offender. His robbery sentence was enhanced based on the habitual-offender status. His murder and aggravated battery sentence also was enhanced because he was again found to be a habitual offender.

The majority in the Indiana Court of Appeals' case ruled Farris hadn't show his trial counsel's failure to move to dismiss a second habitual-offender enhancement fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and affirmed the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The appellate panel questioned whether the holding in Seay v. State, 550 N.E.2d 1284, 1288 (Ind. 1990), which prohibited stacking habitual-offender enhancements, applied to the facts of Farris' case.

Judge Carr Darden dissented, believing if Farris' trial counsel had moved to dismiss the habitual-offender allegation filed with the murder and battery charges, Seay would have mandated the motion be granted.

In Otho L. Lafayette v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-0803-CR-118, the Court of Appeals reversed Ortho Lafayette's convictions of rape, criminal confinement, and felony intimidation, as well as his repeat sexual-offender status after determining the trial court committed reversible error by admitting the testimony of a woman he previously attempted to rape in 1997. The appellate judges disagreed as to whether Lafayette put his intent at issue during trial by attempting to show his victim consented to sex with him. He was charged with raping C.E., a woman he met at a gas station; at trial, E.C., who Lafayette was convicted of attempting to rape years earlier, testified pursuant to Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b). The majority ruled E.C.'s testimony shouldn't have been admitted to show Lafayette's intent with C.E. They reversed and remanded for a new trial.

Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented because she believed Lafayette put his intent at issue during trial and the evidence of his previous attempted rape was relevant. She also believed E.C.'s testimony was admissible under Ind. Evid. Rule 402 because it revealed a nearly identical scenario in how Lafayette met both women and got them alone to attack them.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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