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Supreme Court orders third murder trial

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State justices have overturned the murder convictions and ordered a third trial for a former state trooper accused of killing his wife and two young children in Southern Indiana almost a decade ago.

In a 4-1 decision today in David R. Camm v. State of Indiana, No. 87S00-0612-CR-499, a majority of justices found two reversible errors by the Warrick Superior judge who handled the murder retrial in 2006, in that he allowed the prosecution to use speculative evidence and out-of-court statements in proving its case. But finding sufficient evidence to support the three murder convictions, the justices have ordered a new trial in the high-profile case dating back to 2000.

The case involves the shooting deaths of David Camm's wife and their two children, ages 5 and 7, in their Georgetown home. Camm was first charged and convicted of murder by a Floyd Circuit Court jury in 2002, but the state's intermediate appellate court in 2004 overturned those convictions on grounds that the case was prejudiced by prosecutorial evidence regarding Camm's character. On retrial, the case was transferred to Warrick Superior Court and Camm was convicted three years ago and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In its decision today, justices determined that Warrick Superior Judge Robert Aylsworth shouldn't have allowed prosecutors to raise the prospect that Camm had molested his young daughter, since no evidence was presented to connect the father to the molestation. Justices also took issue with the trial judge's allowance of statements that the defendant's wife had made to a friend regarding the time she expected Camm to be home on the night of the murders.

The court also addressed several other issues that may come up in another retrial, such as statements by a co-conspirator who's since been convicted; opinion testimony about bloodstain patterns at the murder scene; and a courtroom demonstration by a state expert witness.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard was the lone dissenter in this case, saying the majority hasn't considered the full scope of the "mountainous" evidence in this case and the appellate courts have too quickly glossed over his confessions of guilt and how 24 jurors have all credited the testimony and found him guilty.

"The system of justice seeks to provide a fair trial, but there is no entitlement to a perfect trial," he wrote. "I think the two reversals entered by the appellate courts in this case have unnecessarily sanitized the evidence against David Camm."

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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