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Friday, June 26, 2009

Ind. Decisions - "Third trial ordered for Camm"

The Supreme Court's ruling this morning in the case of David R. Camm v. State of Indiana (ILB summary here) is the subject of several stories this afternoon.

Ben Zion Hershberg of the Louisville Courier Journal has a story that begins:

The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday ordered a third trial for former Indiana State Trooper David Camm, who was found guilty in two previous trials of murdering his wife and two small children in September 2000 in the garage of their Georgetown home.

In a 4-1 decision, the Supreme Court said "speculative" evidence that Camm molested his daughter a day or two before the murders should not have been allowed by the judge because it could inflame the jury.

The court also said a statement by a friend of Camm's wife that she expected to see him at 7 to 7:30 p.m. the night of the murders should not have been allowed because it was hearsay that couldn't be challenged because Camm's wife, the source of the statement, is dead and couldn't be questioned about it.

Chief Justice Randall Shepard dissented from the majority, arguing that "the two reversals entered by the appellate courts in this case have unnecessarily sanitized the evidence against David Camm."

Shepard said at least some of the evidence on which Camm's first trial in Floyd County Superior Court was reversed—that he had extra-marital affairs—should have been allowed. The affairs could be proof of a motive, Shepard said.

He also said evidence that Camm's daughter was molested was allowable because it could provide "an inference" about motive.

The majority disagreed, however, saying there was no connection of Camm to the molestation so it shouldn't have been allowed.

Matt Thacker of the New Albany News & Tribune reports in a story that begins:
The Indiana Supreme Court overturned the conviction of David Camm in the deaths of his wife and two children and ordered a third trial.

Camm, 45, was convicted in 2002 and again in 2006 of murdering his wife Kimberly, 35, and their children, Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5, at their Georgetown home in 2000.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson will now have to decide whether to try Camm — at one time an Indiana State Police trooper — again.

This from a press release issued at 3:55 PM by Attorney General Greg Zoeller:
“While we are disappointed that a new trial is required, we agree with the Court on the key point: There was sufficient evidence of Camm’s guilt to support the jury’s verdicts. Indeed, there was a mountain of evidence against Camm, distinct from the disputed testimony at issue in this opinion,” Zoeller said.

“Chief Justice Randall Shepard’s dissenting opinion that a second reversal is unwarranted under these circumstances was what we had hoped to have as a majority view.

“Accordingly, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General will be filing a petition for a re-hearing with the Indiana Supreme Court. That request will be filed within 30 days,” Zoeller added.

“As Indiana Attorney General, it is my obligation to represent the prosecution when criminal convictions are appealed. I stand with the Floyd County Prosecutor and all prosecutors throughout the state in the decisions they must make. I will provide any appropriate assistance that is requested and I will support the prosecutor in his ongoing efforts to seek justice in this case,” Zoeller said.

[More] Here is an updated version of the LCJ story, from June 27th.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 26, 2009 03:52 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions