ILNews

U.S. allowed to join Indy case arguments

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the federal government to have a voice in arguments of an Indiana case later this month, testing the competency standards for pro se litigants in criminal cases.

On March 14, justices of the nation's highest court granted a motion from the U.S. Solicitor General to participate in arguments as amicus curiae in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, 07-208, set for 10 a.m. March 26.

At issue is what the Sixth Amendment dictates when determining whether someone found competent to stand trial is also competent to represent himself in criminal proceedings.

The 1999 case stems from an Indianapolis man who was arrested after stealing shoes from a downtown store, then shooting at police while running away. After years of being declared both not competent and competent to stand trial, he was ultimately cleared to be competent for trial, but a trial judge determined he wasn't fit to represent himself. The Indiana Supreme Court reversed that order and invited the U.S. Supreme Court review.

Washington, D.C., attorney Mark Stancil is lead attorney arguing for Edwards, taking over the reigns from Marion County Public Defender Agency attorney Michael Fisher who handled the state appellate proceedings. Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher is arguing for the state, and will share his time with the federal government.
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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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