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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues order yesterday in Overstreet case [Updated]

Here is the 3-page, 5-0, September 3rd order in Overstreet v. State. Acting Chief Justice Rucker writes:

After completing a direct appeal, a post-conviction appeal, and a federal court habeas appeal, Michael Dean Overstreet remains sentenced to death for the murder of Kelly Eckart on September 26, 1997. By counsel, Overstreet has filed papers asserting that his mental illness renders him “incompetent to be executed,” and he seeks to litigate this claim at a post-conviction hearing in the state trial court where he was convicted. The State opposes Overstreet’s request and asks that a date for execution of the sentence be set. * * *

Overstreet's claim is that his mental illness and present mental state render him not currently competent to be executed under Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930, 127 S.Ct. 2842, 168 L.Ed.2d 662 (2007), and Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399, 106 S.Ct. 2595, 91 L.Ed.2d 335 (1986). * * *

To meet the threshold showing, Overstreet points to evidence about his mental illness discussed in the earlier court opinions in his case. In addition, he has tendered a report from forensic psychiatrist Dr. Rahn K. Bailey, prepared after he examined Overstreet on two occasions earlier this year. The twenty-page document discusses the background of the case and Overstreet's past and current mental condition, and concludes that in Dr. Bailey's professional opinion, Overstreet does not have, and does not have the ability to produce, a rational understanding of why the State of Indiana plans to execute him. We find this sufficient to permit Overstreet to file a successive post-conviction petition asserting the claim that he is not currently competent to be executed.

[Updated at 2 PM] Here is a story by Vic Ryckaert of the Indianapolis Star.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2013 09:18 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions