Sunday, August 02, 2009
Ind. Decisions - "Suspect, families await possible third murder trial"
The case already has cost county prosecutors nearly $3 million, and another trial could add millions more to the tab. Prosecutors could be hamstrung by rulings that have stripped the state of much of its case. And finding an impartial jury could require traveling to the opposite end of the state. Equally as taxing is the emotional toll the case has taken on two families, one convinced of Camm's innocence and the other equally certain of his guilt.
"It's a shame ... the family has to be dragged back through the hell they've been through for the past eight years," said Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson, who handled Camm's second trial in 2006.
The prospect of a third trial arose in June after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled prosecutors inflamed the jury at the second trial by arguing without any evidence that Camm had molested his daughter. The state has asked the court to reconsider and allow the guilty verdict to stand, and a decision on that request could take months.
Legal experts say that's unlikely to happen. Joel Schumm, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis who once clerked for the state high court, called a reversal "virtually impossible." Defense attorneys say they already are preparing for a third trial.
In striking down the first two convictions, state appeals courts have rejected two of the prosecutors' main arguments — that Camm killed his family at their home in Georgetown, Ind., 13 miles north of Louisville, Ky., so he could pursue extramarital affairs, and that he molested his daughter. Camm's family and attorneys have argued the three were slain by someone else while he played basketball in a church gymnasium with 11 other people.
"Based on the first and second reversals, the state is going to have no motive — none," said retired Indiana University law professor Henry Karlson, who helped write an appellate brief after Camm's first trial. * * *
The trials of Camm and Boney have cost county prosecutors alone $2.9 million. In 2007, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill — motivated by the Camm case — requiring the state to help pay for criminal retrials ordered by state appellate courts. But that bill sets a limit of $50,000 in reimbursement per trial.
The prospect of more high-tech forensic testing, more expert witnesses and a possible change of venue to avoid widespread pretrial publicity in Southern Indiana could make a third trial the most expensive yet.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 2, 2009 11:31 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions