Despite working on Indiana public defense reforms for 41 years, there are still goals Larry Landis wishes he could have accomplished before his impending retirement from the Indiana Public Defender Council. In a perfect world, Landis said his career would have led to more judicial sentencing discretion, a greater focus on mental health treatment, and a justice system that values restoration over punishment.
On the heels of criticism from a national organization and multiple lawsuits challenging Indiana’s public defender system, Indiana lawmakers and legal stakeholders are beginning to review the state’s public defense mechanisms to identify strategies for improvement.
The Franklin Circuit Court must withdraw a first-time felon’s pleas to two drug counts after erroneously finding the man knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waived his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
Accusations of sexual harassment and prosecutorial misconduct at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Capital Case Section have ensnared a death penalty case in the Southern District of Indiana against a federal inmate charged with killing his cellmate.
A pro se defendant sentenced to 100 years of incarceration can take his case back to the trial court after the Indiana Court of Appeals found his appellate counsel prejudiced him by not raising the issue of whether his waiver of counsel was knowing, intelligent and voluntary.
A long-discussed civil forfeiture reform bill has cleared its first hurdle in the Indiana statehouse. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday passed Senate Bill 99, which tightens due process procedures when prosecutors seek to confiscate property allegedly connected with crimes.
A task force that is studying the provision of indigent criminal defense services in Indiana will soon travel the state to gather public input on how those services can be improved. The Task Force on Public Defense announced Wednesday it is launching a statewide listening tour to seek public comment on the inefficiencies in Indiana’s public defense services.
When a court accepts a fixed-sentence plea agreement, prosecutors and defenders alike say the long-standing practice has been for courts to uphold the exact terms of that sentence, absent an agreement between the parties. A recent Indiana Court of Appeals ruling, however, has seemingly put an end to that practice, leading to both a legislative and judicial review of the sentencing issue.
A case challenging the constitutionality of Johnson County’s contract-based public defender system will not proceed after the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday upheld the dismissal of the case against several Johnson County judges, attorneys and commissioners.
As a statewide task force begins the process of analyzing deficiencies in Indiana’s indigent defense services, a group of Johnson County criminal defendants sought to keep alive a lawsuit against their court-appointed public defenders. The defendants Thursday urged the Indiana Court of Appeals to reinstate their suit alleging ineffective assistance of counsel before their cases have concluded.