Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ison v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 14, 2017

David Earl Ison, Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Respondent

         Appeal from the Franklin Circuit Court The Honorable J. Steven Cox, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 24C01-1407-PC-630

          Appellant pro se David Earl Ison Carlisle, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Ian McLean Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Altice, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] David Earl Ison, pro se, appeals the denial of his post-conviction relief (PCR) petition. We find the following issue dispositive: Did the post-conviction court err in declining to address Ison's claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, which incorporated a challenge to the voluntariness of his plea?

         [¶2] We remand.

         Facts & Procedural History

         [¶3] On September 25, 2011, Roy Napier, Angela Napier, Melissa Napier, Jacob Napier, and Henry Smith were murdered in Franklin County. Shortly thereafter, Ison became a suspect and blood and DNA evidence were recovered from his home, as well as two firearms that had been used in the shootings. At the time of the killings, Ison was on probation for unrelated convictions on ten counts of burglary. In sum, Ison had twenty prior felony convictions.

         [¶4] The State charged Ison with five counts of murder (Counts I through V) on October 7, 2011. Franklin County Prosecutor Melvin Wilhelm (Prosecutor Wilhelm) struggled with whether to seek the death penalty and eventually consulted with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council's capital litigation committee, which advised him to seek the death penalty. Thereafter, Prosecutor Wilhelm spoke with Ison's trial counsel, Hubert Branstetter (Attorney Branstetter), regarding the possibility of a plea agreement in which Ison would plead guilty to life imprisonment without parole (LWOP) to avoid the death penalty. A document was prepared by Prosecutor Wilhelm and presented to Ison by Attorney Branstetter. Ison signed the document, agreeing to LWOP. This document, which Ison believed to be a plea agreement, was never filed with the trial court.

         [¶5] On February 3, 2012, the State filed an amended information adding an LWOP count (Count VI). The trial court held an initial hearing regarding Count VI on March 1, 2012, which transformed into a guilty plea hearing when Ison pled guilty to Count VI and changed his plea to guilty with regard to Counts I though V. The trial court advised Ison that this would necessarily require him to be in prison for the rest of his natural life. After briefly inquiring into Ison's mental state and ability to understand the proceedings, the trial court engaged Ison in the following discussion:

COURT: The guilty plea that you're offering is your own free choice and decision?
DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
COURT: No one has offered you any promises or anything of value to get you ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.