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Friday, January 11, 2008

Ind. Decisions - "Wabash triple-murderer denied belated appeal of sentences"

Referencing the Supreme Court decision Wednesday in the case of David T. Sholes v. State of Indiana (see ILB summary here - 3rd case), Rebecca S. Green of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports today:

A convicted triple-murderer cannot appeal his sentence, according to a recent ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court.

The ruling, issued Wednesday, overturned a ruling by a Huntington County judge that allowed David T. Sholes to belatedly appeal his sentence.

In October 2006, Huntington Circuit Judge Thomas Hakes granted Sholes’ request to appeal his prison sentences, meted out for three charges of murder and one count of attempted murder. Hakes was appointed a special judge in the 1996 Wabash County case.

Sholes, 52, is serving a life sentence, two 65-year sentences and one 55-year prison sentence in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City for the slayings. * * *

Sholes pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder under an open plea agreement, which meant that prosecutors did not request a specific prison sentence.

Having tried numerous times to have his sentences overturned or reduced, Sholes claimed, most recently, he was not advised of his right to appeal his sentence, which would be required in an open plea case – one where there is no set term of years.

Hakes agreed and allowed him to file a belated appeal.

But in its ruling this week, the Indiana Supreme Court said Sholes is not eligible to challenge his sentence of life without parole – for Swan’s murder – because it was not in fact an open plea.

With regard to the other sentences, Sholes could not file a belated appeal because he had not demonstrated diligence in trying to appeal for the eight years between when he was sentenced and when he sought permission to file a belated appeal, the court ruled.

Hakes declined to comment on the ruling.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 11, 2008 01:15 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions