Corcoran v. State, No. 02S00-0508-PD-350.

Docket NºNo. 02S00-0508-PD-350.
Citation845 N.E.2d 1019
Case DateApril 18, 2006
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1019

845 N.E.2d 1019
Joseph E. CORCORAN, Appellant (Plaintiff below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Defendant below).
No. 02S00-0508-PD-350.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
April 18, 2006.

Page 1020

Susan K. Carpenter, Public Defender of Indiana, Joanna McFadden, Deputy Public Defender, Laura L. Volk, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, for Appellant.

Steve Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, Stephen R. Creason, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, for Appellee.

SULLIVAN, Justice.


Following proceedings that began in 2003 when Joseph Corcoran refused to sign a petition for post-conviction relief from his sentence of death and that were the subject of earlier decisions of this Court, Corcoran changed his mind and in 2005 signed such a petition. The trial judge dismissed this latter petition as not having been timely filed, a decision we affirm in this opinion.

Background

Joseph Corcoran was convicted of four counts of murder in May, 1999, and sentenced to death. He sought appellate review of his sentence, which was affirmed by this Court. Corcoran v. State, 774 N.E.2d 495 (Ind.2002). His attorneys subsequently moved to initiate collateral review, and thereafter, the post-conviction court submitted a case management schedule, which we approved by order dated May 3, 2003, requiring Corcoran to file his petition for post-conviction relief by September 9, 2003.

Corcoran's counsel presented an unsigned petition for post-conviction relief on his behalf on September 9, 2003. The petition went unsigned on Corcoran's insistence that all efforts at further appellate review on his behalf be abandoned. The post-conviction court rejected the petition on the basis of this defect but scheduled a hearing to determine Corcoran's competency to waive further review.

Corcoran was found to be competent at that hearing by the post-conviction court, a conclusion his counsel appealed to this Court. However, while pending our determination, Corcoran changed his mind about seeking further review. He asked this Court to dismiss his appeal and remand the matter to the post-conviction court for further proceedings there. We rejected his request to dismiss the appeal and went on to find him competent to waive further post-conviction review. Corcoran v. State, 820 N.E.2d 655, 662 (Ind. 2005). Without deciding the issue, we also indicated that since Corcoran had failed to meet the deadline for filing a petition for post-conviction relief set by the case management schedule, any future attempt would likely be considered time-barred. Corcoran v. State, 827 N.E.2d 542, 544 (Ind.2005).

Corcoran did subsequently tender a signed petition for post-conviction relief to the post-conviction court on February 10, 2005, which that court dismissed as untimely. He then filed a notice of appeal and brief with this Court for our consideration. We affirm the decision of the court below.

Page 1021

Discussion

Corcoran advances two arguments in his appeal to this Court. First, he contends that his February, 2005, petition for post-conviction relief was timely and that the post-conviction court's dismissal was inappropriate as "it related back to the Petition for Post-Conviction Relief filed September 9, 2003." Br. of Appellant at 6. He also contends that the post-conviction court's dismissal of his petition violated his rights to equal protection and due process of law since he was not given notice that his failure to file a signed petition on September 9, 2003, would foreclose any further opportunities for collateral review and because he "was treated differently than other civil litigants [when] the trial court dismissed his February 10, 2005 petition rather than relating it back to the September 9, 2003 petition." Id. at 14.

I

Corcoran initially contends that his signed February 10, 2005, petition is timely and "relate[s] back to the [unsigned] petition filed on September 9, 2003 because the two petitions contained the same core of operative facts." Id. at 5. He cites authority from the United States Supreme Court's decision in Mayle v. Felix, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 125 S.Ct. 2562, 2574, 162 L.Ed.2d 582 (2005), to assert "[s]o long as the original and amended petitions state claims that are tied to a common core of operative facts, relation back will be in order." Corcoran's argument and reliance on Felix for support is incorrect, however, in that any attempt to invoke the doctrine of relation back must be predicated on a timely original petition. Corcoran's relation back claim does not meet this threshold requirement.

A

Indiana's doctrine of relation back is governed by Ind. Trial Rule 15(C). While our Trial Rules generally only govern procedure and practice in civil cases, we have considered their applicability in post-conviction proceedings on a case-by-case basis where the Indiana Rules of Procedure for Post-Conviction Remedies are silent. See, e.g., Van Meter v. State, 650 N.E.2d 1138 (Ind.1995) (holding that T.R. 60(B) was inapplicable in post-conviction proceeding); Spranger v. State, 650 N.E.2d 1117 (Ind.1995) (applying T.R. 52(A) in a post-conviction proceeding); State ex rel. Whitehead v. Madison Circuit Court, 626 N.E.2d 802 (Ind.1993) (concluding T.R. 76(B) was inapplicable to post-conviction proceeding); Mickens v. State, 596 N.E.2d 1379 (Ind.1992) (finding that T.R. 59(G) was applicable in post-conviction proceeding). Our analysis in this case will proceed without deciding whether Trial Rule 15(C) is applicable to Post-Conviction proceedings.

Trial Rule 15(C) states, "[w]henever the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the...

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12 practice notes
  • Corcoran v. Buss, No. 07-2093.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 31 Diciembre 2008
    ...determination. The public interest in achieving finality at this stage weighs heavily against further review." Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019, 1023 (Ind.2006) (Corcoran IV) (internal citations On November 8, 2005, Corcoran filed an untimely petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the ......
  • Corcoran v. Buss, No. 3:05-CV-389 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 9 Abril 2007
    ...N.E.2d 495 (Ind. 2002) Corcoran v. State, 820 N.E.2d 655 (Ind. 2005) Corcoran v. State, 827 N.E.2d 542 (Ind. 2005) Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019 (Ind. Each will be discussed later in this opinion as necessary. The state record has been filed and examined here pursuant to the mandates o......
  • Corcoran v. Buss, CAUSE NO. 3:05-CV-389 JD
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 10 Enero 2013
    ...determination. The public interest in achieving finality at this stage weighs heavily against further review." Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019, 1023 (Ind. 2006) ("Corcoran IV") (internal citations omitted).On November 8, 2005, Corcoran filed an untimely petition for a writ of habeas corp......
  • Isom v. State, Supreme Court Case No. 45S00-1508-PD-508
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 30 Junio 2021
    ...petitions, it requires that an original petition be timely filed for an amended petition to relate back. Corcoran v. State , 845 N.E.2d 1019, 1021 (Ind. 2006). The question here, however, is when the original petition was filed, not whether Isom's subsequent amendments relate back to it. Th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Corcoran v. Buss, No. 07-2093.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 31 Diciembre 2008
    ...determination. The public interest in achieving finality at this stage weighs heavily against further review." Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019, 1023 (Ind.2006) (Corcoran IV) (internal citations On November 8, 2005, Corcoran filed an untimely petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the ......
  • Corcoran v. Buss, No. 3:05-CV-389 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 9 Abril 2007
    ...N.E.2d 495 (Ind. 2002) Corcoran v. State, 820 N.E.2d 655 (Ind. 2005) Corcoran v. State, 827 N.E.2d 542 (Ind. 2005) Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019 (Ind. Each will be discussed later in this opinion as necessary. The state record has been filed and examined here pursuant to the mandates o......
  • Corcoran v. Buss, CAUSE NO. 3:05-CV-389 JD
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 10 Enero 2013
    ...determination. The public interest in achieving finality at this stage weighs heavily against further review." Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019, 1023 (Ind. 2006) ("Corcoran IV") (internal citations omitted).On November 8, 2005, Corcoran filed an untimely petition for a writ of habeas corp......
  • Isom v. State, Supreme Court Case No. 45S00-1508-PD-508
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 30 Junio 2021
    ...petitions, it requires that an original petition be timely filed for an amended petition to relate back. Corcoran v. State , 845 N.E.2d 1019, 1021 (Ind. 2006). The question here, however, is when the original petition was filed, not whether Isom's subsequent amendments relate back to it. Th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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