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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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. 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.

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