Indiana Lawyer’s top story of 2018 began inside an Indianapolis bar in the cool early-morning hours of Thursday, March 15. Attorney General Curtis Hill had had a few drinks. A few too many, several witnesses would later claim.
A law slipped into the 2017 budget bill during the General Assembly’s final hours declared that information about drugs that the state would use to execute someone was confidential. The last-minute law was written into the bill even though a judge had ruled months earlier that the very same information was a matter of public record and had ordered the Department of Correction to provide it.
The closing of 4-year-old Indiana Tech Law School in Fort Wayne, and the revelation that 138-year-old Valparaiso University Law School faced an uncertain future, made law school troubles the top legal news story of 2017, as determined by the staff of Indiana Lawyer. Changes on the federal and state bench also were among the year's top stories.
A lawsuit naming Gov. Eric Holcomb filed on behalf of a prisoner on Indiana’s death row urges a state court to issue an injunction halting capital punishment and rule that the state’s ultimate criminal penalty violates the Indiana Constitution.
Counsel for a man sentenced to death for two separate murders and 65 years in prison for a third argued his representation was ineffective in the first two cases when prior counsel failed to adequately investigate and present evidence of a traumatic brain injury the man had sustained.
An Indiana man has been sentenced to 80 years in prison for the 1988 abduction, rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl. An Allen County judge sentenced 59-year-old John D. Miller, of Grabill, on Friday after Miller pleaded guilty to murder and child molestation charges in April Tinsley’s long-unsolved killing.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a request by Indiana’s attorney general’s office to reinstate the death sentence of a man convicted of killing a central Indiana woman and her 4-year-old daughter. Monday’s decision leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that threw out Frederick Baer’s death sentence because he had ineffective legal counsel. He’ll now be resentenced by an Indiana court.
The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld the denial of post-conviction relief for a convicted child murderer and arsonist sentenced to death, finding that while the man’s counsel did make mistakes, those mistakes did not rise to the Strickland level of deficient performance. However, Chief Justice Loretta Rush dissented and would have allowed the case to proceed to a new penalty phase.
An Indianapolis man facing the death penalty for allegedly killing a Southport police officer is requesting public funds to hire a brain injury consultant in an apparent move to raise questions about whether he acted “knowingly or intentionally.”
A northern Indiana man who’s facing his third trial in a triple-murder case won’t face the death penalty if he’s convicted again in the killings. Wayne Kubsch is expected to stand trial again next year for the 1998 Mishawaka slaying of his wife, her ex-husband and their son.