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Friday, August 27, 2010

Ind. Decisions - More on: 7th Circuit reverses stun gun decision

Re yesterday's 7th Circuit opinion (ILB summary here), Mark Wilson reported yesterday in the Evansville Courier & Press:

A federal appeals court today ordered a federal district court judge to reconsider her decision to throw out the sentence and verdict.

A Warrick County jury found Stephenson guilty of murdering Brandy Southard, 21, John “Jay” Tyler, 29, and Kathy Tyler, 29, as they sat in the Tylers’ pickup truck at a rural intersection in the county on March 28, 1996.

U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann ruled in July 2009 that Stephenson did not have effective legal counsel because his attorney, Anthony Long, did not object to Stephenson’s having to wear a stun belt in the court room. The judge ruled that wearing the stun belt violated his right to presumption of innocence when he appeared before the jury that convicted him.

Warrick County Prosecutor Todd Corne said today the appeals court was critical of the district judge for not considering other issues raised by Stephenson.

Because of that, the appeals court said in its decision, said it was bound to send the decision back to district court for consideration of other issues raised by Stephenson. The appeals court ruled that had the judge considered those issues, it could have upheld the judge’s decision on other grounds even if it disagreed on the stun belt decision.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 27, 2010 09:34 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions