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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit upholds Judge Barker in trial level judical bias decision

An ILB entry from 6/17/04 quotes a story by Maureen Hayden in the Evansville Courier&Press:

The Indiana attorney general contends a federal judge overstepped her boundaries when she overturned the conviction of death row inmate James Patrick Harrison because of "judicial bias" by a Posey County judge.

In a brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Attorney General Steve Carter contends U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker should have deferred to state court judges, who have upheld Harrison's 1991 conviction in the death of two children. "The (federal) district court failed to apply the proper degree of deference to the Indiana Supreme Court's disposition of this claim," wrote deputy attorney general James Martin in the appeal. Martin also argues that Barker was incorrect when she ruled that Harrison's attorneys showed "actual judicial bias" was demonstrated during Harrison's trial by Posey Circuit Judge James Redwine.

A copy of Judge Barker's decision in Harrison v. Anderson (SD Ind., 1/22/04) is available here.

Today the Courier&Press is reporting, in a story again written by Maureen Hayden, that the 7th Circuit last week upheld Judge Barker's ruling. Some quotes:

Citing "unmistakable" judicial bias, a federal appeals court has upheld a lower [federal] court's decision to overturn the 1991 conviction of Indiana death row inmate James Patrick Harrison.

Late last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Harrison was deprived of a fair trial by Posey County, Ind., Judge James Redwine, who refused to remove himself from the case after defense attorneys raised allegations about his relationship with one of Harrison's victims. According to the appeals court opinion, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker was "eminently correct" when she ruled Redwine had demonstrated an "unmistakable bias infecting James Harrison's (murder) trial." Barker overturned Harrison's conviction last year and the Indiana Attorney General appealed her ruling.

Here is the 7th Circuit's 33-page opinion, dated 10/27/05. See particularly pages 30 through 33.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 2, 2005 03:42 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions