Court of Appeals Ruling
On May 16, 2013, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a client of Steven Knecht, a partner with Vonderheide & Knecht, by overturning the client’s convictions of criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement.
The client was represented at trial by a different law firm. Though he was found not guilty of battery by reason of insanity, the jury found him guilty but mentally ill of criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement. During jury deliberations, the jury foreperson asked the court bailiff if the jury was required to stay and deliberate until the jury reached 100 percent agreement with all of the counts. The bailiff told the foreperson that the jury had to be in 100 percent agreement.
On appeal, Knecht argued that this communication by the bailiff violated his client’s right to an impartial jury resulting in fundamental error. The Court of Appeals determined that the communication by the bailiff was improper and denied the client his fundamental right to due process.