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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals orders special prosecutor in David Camm case

In David R. Camm v. State of Indiana, an 11-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

Appellant-defendant David R. Camm appeals the trial court’s denial of his petition for the appointment of a special prosecutor pursuant to Indiana Code Section 33-39-1-6(b)(2). More particularly, Camm argues that the trial court erred when it found that the prosecutor’s now cancelled literary contract did not constitute clear and convincing evidence of an actual conflict of interest. Camm further contends that the trial court erred when it required that he show harm in order to prove an actual conflict of interest. Concluding that prosecutor’s literary contract created an irreversible, actual conflict of interest with his duty to the people of the state of Indiana, we find that the trial court erred when it denied Camm’s petition. Thus, we reverse and remand for the appointment of special prosecutor and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. * * *

The trial court held that the cancellation of the contract weighs against finding an actual conflict of interest, and, likewise, the State argues that the cancellation of the contract precludes this court from finding that an actual conflict of interest exists. Notwithstanding the State’s contention, this is a bell that cannot be unrung. Henderson signed a contract to author and publish a book about the Camm case prior to Camm’s third retrial, and, in doing so, he permanently compromised his ability to advocate on behalf of the people of the State of Indiana in this trial.

Were we to hold otherwise, there would be more chapters to this book. As a result of having signed the literary contract, Henderson has provided Camm with a defense strategy that he would not otherwise have. Camm may now contend that Henderson’s literary contract, albeit cancelled, and his commitment to write a book influenced his decision to prosecute Camm for a third time. Henderson has made himself an issue at trial, and thus cannot continue to serve as prosecutor in this case.

Here is a long list of earlier ILB entries relating to the Camm cases.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 15, 2011 11:50 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions