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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Ind. Decisions - "Death penalty back on table for Corcoran"

The 7th Circuit's decision yesterday in the case of Joseph E. Corcoran v. Buss (see ILB entry here) is the subject of a story today by Rebecca S. Green in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that begins:

The state of Indiana can once again reinstate the death penalty against convicted quadruple-murderer Joseph E. Corcoran, according to a 2-1 ruling the U.S. Court of Appeals issued Wednesday.

Just over a year ago, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments about whether Corcoran’s death sentence should be overturned.

In 1999, a jury convicted the then-22-year old Corcoran of four counts of murder. In July 1997, Corcoran shot and killed his brother, James Corcoran, 30; his sister’s fiancé, Robert Scott Turner, 32; and two of his brother’s friends – Timothy G. Bricker, 30; and Douglas A. Stillwell, 30 – at a Bayer Avenue home.

At issue was whether Corcoran, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, was mentally competent when he waived his right to have a trial court review his case, and whether his constitutional rights were violated when then-Allen County Prosecutor Robert Gevers offered to take the death penalty off the table if Corcoran would agree to a bench trial rather than a jury trial.

The case has taken many twists leading up to Wednesday’s ruling and it is not likely to be over yet.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 1, 2009 08:31 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions