Supreme Court takes post-conviction case of convicted murderer

The Indiana Supreme Court will decide if a man convicted of murder in 1996 should be granted post-conviction relief based on the fact that his trial counsel was ineffective and his petition is not barred by laches.

The court granted transfer last week in the case of Trondo L. Humphrey v. State of Indiana, 48S02-1609-PC-480, after the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a post-conviction court’s decision to deny Trondo Humphrey’s petition for post-conviction relief. After Humphrey’s 1996 murder conviction, he filed for post-conviction relief in 2012, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective for a number of reasons.

In its June opinion, the Court of Appeals found that Humphrey’s petition was not barred by laches, and that the state did not meet its burden to demonstrate prejudice as a result of the delay in Humphrey’s filing of his petition for post-conviction relief.

Further, the court  wrote that Humphrey’s counsel was ineffective because he did not object to or correct an instructional error given to the jury, which the Court of Appeals said misstated the law, and because his counsel erred in strategy.

The Supreme Court also granted transfer last week in the case of City of Lawrence Utilities Service Board, et al. v. Carlton E. Curry, 49S02-1609-CT-481.

In an opinion on June 8, a split Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of Curry, the former Lawrence Utilities Board superintendent. Writing for the majority, Judge John Baker wrote that Lawrence’s new mayor, Dean Jessup, had authority to terminate Curry’s employment, so Curry could not prevail on a wrongful discharge claim. Further, the court wrote that Curry had no right to recover under the Wage Payment Statute.

Judge Elaine Brown agreed on the Wage Payment Statute Ruling, but dissented on the reversal of summary judgment for Curry.

The Supreme Court granted a third transfer petition last week in the case Kyle Bess v. State of Indiana, 09S02-1609-CR-484, and affirmed on Sept. 14 Bess’ sentence of three years served in the Department of Correction for felony child solicitation against his niece.

Justices denied transfer petitions in 18 cases for the week ending Sept. 16. Transfer dispositions may be viewed here

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