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Monday, August 29, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In Charles Walker v. Kathy Griffin (SD Ind., Magnus-Stinson), an 11-page opinion, Judge Wood writes:

Charles Walker was convicted in an In- diana court of robbery, adjudicated a habitual offender pur- suant to Indiana Code § 35 -50- 2- 8, and sentenced to 40 years in prison . Twenty of those years were attributable to his ha- bitual- offender status. The version of the habitual- offender statute Indiana had in place at the time applied if a defendant had been convicted of two prior unrelated felonies , in a spe- cific sequence: the second felony had to have been committed after the commission of and sentencing for the first, and the present crime had to have been comm itted after the commis- sion and sentencing of the second earlier offense. At Walker’s trial, the state provided evidence of three prior felonies, but it failed to offer evidence of the date when one of the crimes was committed.

The only claim Walker presses before us is ineffective as- sistance of appellate counsel. He contends that his lawyer on direct appeal should have challenged the sufficiency of the evidence for the habitual- offender conviction , given the miss- ing date. Even a ssuming that counsel’s performance fell be- low the constitutional minimum, we conclude that Walker’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus was properly dismissed. The state appellate court’s conclusion that Walker’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel was not infringed meets the gen- erous standards that apply under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and so we affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 29, 2016 06:35 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions