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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court posts one today

Anthony Graves v. State of Indiana (3/16/06/05 IndSCt) [Criminal Law & Procedure]
Shepard, Chief Justice

A generation ago, Anthony Graves pled guilty to burglary and got a suspended sentence. He is now litigating his second petition for post-conviction relief, alleging he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the proceedings on the first petition.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of the petition, holding that had the first post-conviction lawyer performed certain acts the result “could have been different.” This misreads the standard applicable to claims about the performance of post-conviction counsel. Having granted transfer, we affirm the trial court. * * *

II. Performance of Graves’ Counsel. In the present case, petitioner’s counsel Lewis appeared at the post-conviction relief hearing, directly examined Graves on his recollection of the plea hearing, tendered an affidavit of the presiding judge stating he had no recollection of the plea hearing, and submitted an affidavit stating the court reporter at the time of the plea hearing was no longer available. (1st P-CR Tr. at 63-74). Lewis certainly did not abandon Graves. Here, the evidence presented at the post-conviction relief hearing thus does not lead “unerringly and unmistakably to a conclusion opposite” that of the post-conviction court. Williams v. State, 706 N.E.2d 149, 154 (Ind. 1999) (quoting Weatherford v. State, 619 N.E.2d 915 (Ind. 1993)).

Conclusion. We affirm the trial court’s denial of Graves’ second petition for post-conviction relief.

Dickson, Sullivan, and Boehm, JJ., concur.
Rucker, J., concurs in result without separate opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 16, 2005 02:08 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions