Citations Affected: IC 35-50-2-9.
Synopsis: Death penalty appeals. Prohibits a person who has been
sentenced to death and who has completed state postconviction review
proceedings from presenting newly discovered evidence concerning the
person's mental illness, mental state, or mental condition.
Effective: July 1, 2005.
January 20, 2005, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning
criminal law and procedure.
consecutive or concurrent sentencing, and the availability of good time
credit and clemency. The court shall instruct the jury that, in order for
the jury to recommend to the court that the death penalty or life
imprisonment without parole should be imposed, the jury must find at
least one (1) aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt as
described in subsection (k) and shall provide a special verdict form for
each aggravating circumstance alleged. The defendant may present any
additional evidence relevant to:
(1) the aggravating circumstances alleged; or
(2) any of the mitigating circumstances listed in subsection (c).
(e) For a defendant sentenced after June 30, 2002, except as provided by IC 35-36-9, if the hearing is by jury, the jury shall recommend to the court whether the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole, or neither, should be imposed. The jury may recommend:
(1) the death penalty; or
(2) life imprisonment without parole;
only if it makes the findings described in subsection (l). If the jury reaches a sentencing recommendation, the court shall sentence the defendant accordingly. After a court pronounces sentence, a representative of the victim's family and friends may present a statement regarding the impact of the crime on family and friends. The impact statement may be submitted in writing or given orally by the representative. The statement shall be given in the presence of the defendant.
(f) If a jury is unable to agree on a sentence recommendation after reasonable deliberations, the court shall discharge the jury and proceed as if the hearing had been to the court alone.
(g) If the hearing is to the court alone, except as provided by IC 35-36-9, the court shall:
(1) sentence the defendant to death; or
(2) impose a term of life imprisonment without parole;
only if it makes the findings described in subsection (l).
(h) If a court sentences a defendant to death, the court shall order the defendant's execution to be carried out not later than one (1) year and one (1) day after the date the defendant was convicted. The supreme court has exclusive jurisdiction to stay the execution of a death sentence. If the supreme court stays the execution of a death sentence, the supreme court shall order a new date for the defendant's execution.
(i) If a person sentenced to death by a court files a petition for post-conviction relief, the court, not later than ninety (90) days after the
date the petition is filed, shall set a date to hold a hearing to consider
the petition. If a court does not, within the ninety (90) day period, set
the date to hold the hearing to consider the petition, the court's failure
to set the hearing date is not a basis for additional post-conviction
relief. The attorney general shall answer the petition for post-conviction
relief on behalf of the state. At the request of the attorney general, a
prosecuting attorney shall assist the attorney general. The court shall
enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning the
petition not later than ninety (90) days after the date the hearing
concludes. However, if the court determines that the petition is without
merit, the court may dismiss the petition within ninety (90) days
without conducting a hearing under this subsection.
(j) A death sentence is subject to automatic review by the supreme court. The review, which shall be heard under rules adopted by the supreme court, shall be given priority over all other cases. The supreme court's review must take into consideration all claims that the:
(1) conviction or sentence was in violation of the:
(A) Constitution of the State of Indiana; or
(B) Constitution of the United States;
(2) sentencing court was without jurisdiction to impose a sentence; and
(A) exceeds the maximum sentence authorized by law; or
(B) is otherwise erroneous.
If the supreme court cannot complete its review by the date set by the sentencing court for the defendant's execution under subsection (h), the supreme court shall stay the execution of the death sentence and set a new date to carry out the defendant's execution.
(k) A person who has been sentenced to death and who has completed state post-conviction review proceedings may file a written petition with the supreme court seeking to present new evidence challenging the person's guilt or the appropriateness of the death sentence if the person serves notice on the attorney general. However, a person may not present new evidence challenging the person's guilt or the appropriateness of the death sentence if the evidence relates to:
(1) the defense of mental disease or defect (IC 35-41-3-6);
(2) a claim that the person's capacity to appreciate the criminality of the person's conduct or to conform that conduct to the requirements of law was substantially impaired as a result of mental disease or defect or of intoxication under subsection (c)(6); or
(3) a claim that the person's mental illness, mental state, or mental capacity:
(A) constitutes a defense;
(B) makes a death sentence inappropriate; or
(C) otherwise undermines confidence in the conviction or death sentence.
The supreme court shall determine, with or without a hearing, whether the person has presented previously undiscovered evidence that undermines confidence in the conviction or the death sentence. If necessary, the supreme court may remand the case to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing to consider the new evidence and its effect on the person's conviction and death sentence. The supreme court may not make a determination in the person's favor nor make a decision to remand the case to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing without first providing the attorney general with an opportunity to be heard on the matter.
(l) Before a sentence may be imposed under this section, the jury, in a proceeding under subsection (e), or the court, in a proceeding under subsection (g), must find that:
(1) the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one (1) of the aggravating circumstances listed in subsection (b) exists; and
(2) any mitigating circumstances that exist are outweighed by the aggravating circumstance or circumstances.