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Venue change granted for Indy house blast suspect

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A judge granted a change of venue Wednesday for the trial of one defendant in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion after prosecutors dropped their objection.

Marion Superior Court Judge Sheila Carlisle granted the request for Mark Leonard, who faces murder, arson and conspiracy charges in connection with the November 2012 blast that killed two people and destroyed or damaged dozens of houses on the city's south side.

Deana Martin and Diane Black, the public defenders appointed to represent Leonard, had introduced stories from Indianapolis television stations and The Indianapolis Star as evidence of the media saturation they say would make it hard to assemble an impartial jury.

Prosecutors stipulated to the change of venue Wednesday on the third day of a hearing on the venue request. Carlisle had taken the unusual step of assembling test juries to gauge the public's knowledge about the case.

"Virtually everyone is aware of the circumstances," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said after Carlisle granted the change.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Leonard's trial would be moved to another county or a jury imported to Indianapolis. It also was unclear whether venue also would change for the two other defendants, Leonard's former girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his brother, Bob Leonard. Each defendant will be being tried separately on identical charges.

Prosecutors have said the three rigged the blast in Shirley's home as part of a scheme to collect $300,000 in insurance. The explosion killed a married couple who were neighbors of Shirley.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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