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Woman unable to prove attorney actions were prejudicial

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A woman’s petition for post-conviction relief on the grounds her trial counsel was ineffective was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Anastazia Schmid was told on March 2, 2001, that her boyfriend, Tony Heathcote, allegedly had molested her daughter from a prior marriage. While Schmid and Heathcote were having sexual relations on March 4, 2001, Heathcote suggested that Schmid play the part of the little girl and he would play the part of the daddy. This statement caused Schmid to think of her daughter. She then got a knife and began stabbing Heathcote who was blindfolded and restrained at the ankles. He was stabbed 39 times and died. Later, Schmid indicated that at the time of the stabbing she had heard a voice telling her that she was the messiah and Heathcote was evil and needed to be eliminated.

Following a jury trial, Schmid was convicted with verdicts of guilty but mentally ill. She then appealed her convictions of Class C felony battery by means of a deadly weapon, Class C felony criminal recklessness by means of a deadly weapon, Class B felony aggravated battery, Class C felony battery resulting in serious injury, murder, and two counts of Class D felony criminal recklessness.

On Feb. 7, 2005, Schmid filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. She amended the petition five years later. The post-conviction court denied her petition on Aug. 18, 2011.

“All the arguments Schmid raises in this appeal assert her trial attorneys were ineffective,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the majority. The court reviewed her claim under the two-part test announced in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). To prevail, she must show counsel’s performance fell below an objective level of reasonableness based on prevailing norms and that deficient performance resulted in prejudice.

Schmid argued that her attorneys should have raised the “justified reasonable force” defense; that her attorneys should have asked for another competency hearing after she was found competent to stand trial; that her attorneys did not communicate a plea offer; and that her attorneys denied her the right to testify in her own defense at trial.

The COA found that Schmid did not demonstrate counsels’ alleged errors were prejudicial and affirmed the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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