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Wilkerson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 12, 2014

TY WILKERSON, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE TIPPECANOE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Thomas H. Busch, Judge. Cause No. 79D02-1204-FA-09.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: TIMOTHY P. BRODEN, Lafayette, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, BRIAN REITZ, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

MATHIAS, Judge. BRADFORD, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION -- NOT FOR PUBLICATION

MATHIAS, Judge

Ty Wilkerson (" Wilkerson" ) appeals the Tippecanoe Superior Court's denial of his motion to set aside his plea of guilty to Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine. On appeal, Wilkerson claims that the trial court should have granted his motion because of an alleged conflict of interest which denied him the effective assistance of counsel.

We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

The State charged Wilkerson on April 30, 2012, with Class A felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine, Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class B felony possession of methamphetamine, Class C felony possession of precursors to methamphetamine, and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance. A deputy prosecutor with the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's office, Timothy Curry (" Curry" ), was assigned to prosecute Wilkerson and his co-defendant. As part of his role in prosecuting the case against Wilkerson, Curry prepared a discovery disclosure and, on June 25, 2012, a plea offer.

In October 2012, Curry left the prosecutor's office and began to work at the Tippecanoe County Public Defender's office. The Public Defender's office screened Curry for any potential conflicts of interest. The Public Defender's office also sought the opinion of an outside expert, Donald Lundberg (" Lundberg" ), of the law firm of Barnes and Thornburg, LLP.[1] Lundberg prepared a memorandum for the Public Defender's office, which stated in part, " The key here is to screen the former DPA [deputy prosecuting attorney] so that none of the disqualifying information known to him will penetrate the screen to other public defenders who are adverse to the State in cases from which the former DPA is disqualified." Ex. Vol., Defendant's Ex. B., p. 7. Lundberg provided the Public Defender's office with a compliance checklist, which was given to Curry. Curry then created a list of all cases he had worked on while at the prosecutor's office, which included Wilkerson's case. Curry also signed an affidavit stating that he was not allowed to discuss his previous cases with any of the public defenders and was instead to " make a wall and not discuss any facts or circumstances" of those cases. Id., Defendant's Ex. C. The other public defenders were also given a memorandum explaining the screening situation.

James Trueblood (" Trueblood" ), Chief Deputy Public Defender at the Tippecanoe County Public Defender's Office, had been appointed to represent Wilkerson. After Curry was hired by the Public Defender's office, Trueblood acted in accordance with the screening memorandum and did not discuss Wilkerson's case with Curry after he left the prosecutor's office. Further, in each case where Curry had been involved in the prosecution, including Wilerkson's case, the Public Defender's office gave the defendant an individual client letter explaining that Curry was now working for the Public Defender's office. The letter ...


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