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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.