Monday, February 23, 2009
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of a defendant who was charged with the murder of his father, step-mother and two step-sisters so that he could attend his senior prom. The father was a minister who had remarried after the defendant's mother had died of cancer. The court noted that the evidence was entire circumstantial but sufficient to allow a jury to decide guilt. The criminal charges had been brought 13 years after the crimes were committed.
The court here ruled that it was not error to refuse to permit cross-examination of the deputy prosecuting attorney as to the reasons for the delay and his opinion concerning the merits of the case: "[his] opinion as to the sufficiency of the evidence to charges [the defendant] is protected by the work-product privilege." Further, the appointment of a special prosecutor was not required as a result of the newly-elected prosecutor having met with the defendant while in private practice: "we have a prosecutor with no memory of the consultation who believes he received no confidential information...[t]he trial court was within its discretion to deny [his] petition for a special prosecutor."
The Indiana Court of Appeals had reversed the conviction in April 2008, according to the report linked here. (Mike Frisch)