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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ind. Decisions - "Three of the 'Elkhart 4' awaiting court's decision on appeals of convictions, sentences"

Updating earlier ILB posts on the "Elkhart Four" appeals, Emily Pfund has a long story posted this afternoon at the Elkhart Truth site that begins:

Three of the four Elkhart teens convicted of felony murder last year in the death of a co-conspirator during a burglary have appealed their convictions and sentences and are now awaiting a decision from the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Blake Layman, Anthony Sharp and Levi Sparks have all filed appeals with the Indiana Court of Appeals, asking that their convictions be thrown out or their sentences reduced. Jose Quiroz, who pleaded guilty to felony murder in November 2012 and was sentenced to 45 years in prison in December 2012, cannot appeal his conviction or sentence under the terms of the plea agreement.

Layman and Sparks began the appeals process in October 2013. The court condensed their appeals into one case. Sharp’s appeal remains separate.

According to a brief filed on behalf of Layman by his attorneys, Cara Schaefer Wieneke and Joel C. Wieneke, the felony murder conviction should be thrown out for one of the following reasons:

  • Layman’s 14th Amendment right to due process was violated because he was charged in adult court instead of juvenile court without a waiver hearing.
  • The felony murder statute does not apply to this case because it only applies when one of the conspirators in the felony is the killer. In this case, it was the victim of the burglary who killed one of the conspirators.
* * *

The Juvenile Law Center and Indiana Public Defender Council have filed amicus curiae briefs for the Layman/Sparks appeal.

Now that all of the the briefs in the case have been filed, the Court of Appeals could issue a ruling based on the briefs or schedule oral arguments, in which the attorneys for both sides would argue their case in front of a panel of three appellate judges, according to Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office.

No oral arguments have been scheduled yet, Corbin said in an email.

No amicus curaie briefs were filed in the Sharp case, which has also been fully briefed, according to court records.

The story links to many of the briefs in the appeal. The earlier ILB posts also provided access to the documents.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 12, 2014 04:15 PM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions