Justices weigh if trial can proceed after prosecutor misconduct

The Indiana Supreme Court will decide if a man charged in his wife’s shooting death will finally have to stand trial after a series of judicial recusals and state misconduct resulted in the trial court dismissing the criminal case.

After John Larkin was detained in connection with his wife’s shooting death, LaPorte deputy prosecutor Robert Neary and local law enforcement officials listened in on a privileged conversation between Larkin and his attorney that was captured on video. The recording also captured law enforcement officials discussing a plan to pressure a colleague to change his story to damage Larkin’s potential defenses.

Neary was recently suspended from the practice of law for four years without automatic reinstatement for his conduct in Larkin’s manslaughter case, as well as similar conduct in another case.

Larkin moved for dismissal after the state failed to try him within its stipulated three-month period, and the trial court and a majority of the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed to throw out the case against him based partially on the state and prosecutorial misconduct. Judge Michael Barnes, however, dissented.

The Supreme Court has granted transfer to the case of State of Indiana v. John B. Larkin, 46S04-1711-CR-00701, and will hear oral arguments at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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