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Friday, June 23, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit ruled on two more Indiana cases yesterday

From Porco, Christopher v. Trustess IU (SD Ind., David F. Hamilton, Judge), an 11-page opinion:

ROVNER, Circuit Judge. Like many state universities, Indiana University charges nonresident students higher tuition than their Indiana resident counterparts. Christopher Porco was born and raised in Michigan, but he attended law school in Indiana. Shortly after he finished his first year at Indiana University School of Law, Porco petitioned for reclassification as an Indiana resident for purposes of tuition. The University denied Porco’s petition, and he thereafter filed suit against the Trustees of Indiana University, the Standing Committee on Residence, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Residence, and the Associate Registrar (collectively, “the University”), all in their official capacities. Porco alleged that the University’s system for classifying resident and nonresident students violated the Privileges and Immunities, Equal Protection, and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution. He demanded a preliminary injunction to prevent the defendants from collecting nonresident tuition from him under the University’s classification system, which he sought to have declared unconstitutional. The defendants moved to dismiss Porco’s suit for lack of standing, and moved in the alternative for summary judgment. The district court dismissed the suit in part and granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to the remainder. Porco appeals, but we dismiss his appeal as moot for the reasons stated herein.
From Badelle, Robert E. v. Correll (SD Ind., Larry J. McKinney, Chief Judge), a 26-page opinion:
SYKES, Circuit Judge. Almost thirty years ago, Robert Kannapel Sr. was shot and killed while working at an Indianapolis gas station. Robert Badelle was convicted of the murder by an Indiana jury in 1979 and sentenced to sixty years’ imprisonment. Badelle’s conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. Badelle v. State, 449 N.E.2d 1055 (Ind. 1983) (Badelle I).

Four years after the final disposition of his direct appeal, Badelle commenced an action for postconviction relief in state court. For reasons not entirely clear from the record, this petition apparently remained pending for twelve years without substantial action by the Indiana court.1 An evidentiary hearing was finally convened in the fall of 1999; it lasted four days and 44 witnesses testified. The postconviction court denied relief, and the denial was upheld on appeal. Badelle v. State, 754 N.E.2d 510 (Ind. App. 2001) (Badelle II). The Indiana Supreme Court declined review.

Badelle then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 alleging numerous errors in the state court proceedings. The district court denied relief, and this court granted in part Badelle’s request for a certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253. Badelle argues on appeal that he is entitled to habeas relief because the prosecution withheld evidence contrary to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and because his counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and present the testimony of additional witnesses and for not sufficiently objecting to the admissibility of eyewitness identifications. We affirm.

1 The Indiana Court of Appeals noted without elaboration that the original petition for postconviction relief was filed on June 15, 1987, and that “subsequent petitions or amendments” were filed in 1987, 1989, 1996, and, finally, on May 27, 1999. Badelle v. State, 754 N.E.2d 510, 519 (Ind. App. 2001).

Kevin Corcoran reports in today's Indianapolis Star:
An Indianapolis man some people claim was wrongly convicted of killing a gas station manager nearly 30 years ago isn't entitled to a new trial, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Thursday.

The three-judge panel unanimously rejected Robert Earl Badelle's claim that he should go free, even though prosecutors had deprived him of a fair trial by withholding evidence.

That evidence included testimony that Badelle was miles away at the Drake Motel on the city's Eastside at the time of the killing. "Standing alone, we cannot say this information would have changed the outcome of Badelle's trial," Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes wrote.

Badelle's appellate attorney, Sarah Nagy, had been optimistic her client would be released from an Indiana prison since last July, when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held brief oral arguments on the case that appeared favorable to her client.

But the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that prior state court rulings upholding Badelle's conviction were not "so erroneous as to be objectively unreasonable."

Nagy said Thursday that she intends to appeal Badelle's case "out of principle" to the U.S. Supreme Court, which accepts only a tiny percentage of all cases.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 23, 2006 06:53 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions