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Trial court ordered to determine if man was diligent in pursuing appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a man cannot appeal the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, but the trial court should determine whether the defendant has been without fault and diligent in pursuit of his original appeal of child molesting convictions.

Willie Huguley was convicted of three charges of child molesting in 1999. His attorney filed a timely appeal, but he later petitioned the COA to terminate the appeal and remand the cause to the trial court to let Huguley seek post-conviction relief regarding ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The appellate court granted the petition, terminated the appeal, and remanded to the trial court. The post-conviction court denied his petition for relief, and no notice of appeal of that decision was ever initiated.

Eight years later, Huguley’s present attorney filed a petition for belated perfection of appeal. Huguley claimed he was unaware that his request for post-conviction relief was denied or that no notice of appeal was filed. He argued he was diligent in determining why his appeal wasn’t pursued.  

The Court of Appeals concluded that Huguley is unable to appeal the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, but that his original appeal may be “revived.” The judges found that Huguley met the requirements under Indiana Post Conviction Rule 2(3) and sent the issue back to the trial court to allow Huguley the opportunity to make a factual case to support his allegations.

If the trial court finds in favor of Huguley, then he may continue his appeal as originally initiated, the judges held in Willie Huguley v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1105-CR-413.

 

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