Minnick v. Anderson, 3:99 CV 157 AS.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
Writing for the CourtAllen Sharp
Citation151 F.Supp.2d 1015
PartiesWilliam MINNICK, Petitioner, v. Ron ANDERSON, Superintendent, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 3:99 CV 157 AS.,3:99 CV 157 AS.
Decision Date22 August 2000
151 F.Supp.2d 1015
William MINNICK, Petitioner,
Ron ANDERSON, Superintendent, Respondent.
No. 3:99 CV 157 AS.
United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division.
August 22, 2000.

Page 1016

Donald C. Swanson, Swanson and Campbell, Michelle F. Kraus, Fort Wayne, IN, for William A Minnick, petitioner.

Michael R. McLaughlin, Michael A. Hurst, Indiana Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, for Ron Anderson, Superintendent, Indiana State Prison, respondent.


ALLEN SHARP, District Judge.

Petitioner, William Minnick, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death on the recommendation of the jury in a state court trial conducted in Brazil, Indiana, in the Clay Circuit Court. When that conviction was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court due to a Miranda violation, Minnick v. State, 467 N.E.2d 754 (Ind. 1984), he was retried in the Lawrence Circuit Court in Bedford, Indiana, where he was again convicted of murder. After his second trial, the jury unanimously recommended life in prison, but Minnick was sentenced to death by the judge conducting that trial. The within petition was filed by counsel in this Court on September 8, 1999, and oral argument was heard in Lafayette, Indiana on March 16, 2000. This Court greatly appreciates the high degree of professional competence displayed by appointed counsel for this petitioner.

The extensive state record has been filed and examined by this Court under the mandates of Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 83 S.Ct. 745, 9 L.Ed.2d 770 (1963) and under the mandates of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). Immediate reference is made to the three decisions in this case by the Supreme Court of Indiana, namely Minnick v. State, 467 N.E.2d 754 (Ind. 1984), cert. denied, Indiana v. Minnick, 472 U.S. 1032, 105 S.Ct. 3512, 87 L.Ed.2d 642 (1985), Minnick v. State, 544 N.E.2d 471 (Ind.1989) and Minnick v. State, 698 N.E.2d 745 (Ind.1998), cert. denied, Minnick

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v. Indiana, 528 U.S. 1006, 120 S.Ct. 501, 145 L.Ed.2d 387 (1999). This petitioner is now confined on death row at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana in this district.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The Indiana Supreme Court described the events giving rise to Minnick's conviction as follows:

On the afternoon of October 26, 1981, James D. Payne returned from work to his home in Greencastle, Indiana. He discovered his wife's body on the bedroom floor. He immediately called police. The ensuing investigation revealed Martha Payne had been raped, anally sodomized, stabbed in the right rear shoulder, and struck on the head with a table lamp. In addition, ligature marks on her neck indicated she had been strangled, and burn marks on her ankles showed the perpetrator had attempted to electrocute her as well. The cause of death was determined to be the knife wound in her upper back, which penetrated her lung and severed her pulmonary artery.

Minnick v. State, 544 N.E.2d 471, 473 (Ind.1989). That evening, while police cars were still at the Payne home, William Minnick stopped and spoke with Officer Rodney Cline, mentioning that he had been at the Payne home that day looking to do some work. (2 T.R. 2105).1

Late that night, a DePauw University student called the Greencastle police and informed them he had seen an orange "Dukes of Hazzard"-type car park in his fraternity's parking lot, approximately one block from the Payne home, and that he had seen a dark haired man dressed in a fatigue jacket and jeans exit the car and walk towards the Payne home. (2 T.R. 1120-23). Officer Cline heard the student's message, and after calling the student back to discuss it further, determined that the individual might have been Minnick. 2 T.R. 1280. At approximately 3:30 a.m., Cline and Officer Larry Shipman went to Minnick's house and asked him to come to the police station for questioning. 2 T.R. 1281. When Minnick asked if the questioning was about his car, Cline responded "you could say it was about your car." 2 T.R. 1282. Cline read Minnick his Miranda rights and told him to read the entire form, which included a waiver of his rights, asked Minnick if he understood what he read, then had Minnick sign the form. Id. Cline then proceeded to interrogate Minnick about the Payne murder without the benefit of counsel. 2 T.R. 1292. After Cline said "Well, wonder if I told you that we had a knife that had your fingerprints on it?" Minnick slammed Cline against the wall, but his parents pulled him off and calmed him down, stating "if this gets further out of hand, we'll contact [an attorney]." 1 T.R. 730. Minnick attempted to leave the interrogation room, but was restrained. 1 T.R. 560. Prosecutor Del Brewer arrived at the police headquarters between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. 1 T.R. 562. Using a small tape recorder, Brewer continued the questioning of Minnick, and the recording captured both Minnick's detention and Minnick's request for an attorney2. 1 T.R. 2133.

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At approximately 9:30 a.m., Judge Vaughn of the Putnam Circuit Court signed a warrant authorizing the taking of hair, nail scraping, urine, blood and fingerprints from Minnick, and those samples were taken around 11:00 a.m. 2 T.R. 1433, 1460. Minnick was then taken from the Greencastle Police Department to the Putnam County Jail, where he was housed in a single cell on the second floor, at approximately 11:30 a.m. 1 T.R. 572, 583. Between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., Officer Jim Hendricks of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department brought Minnick to an interview room at the jail. 1 T.R. 583, 2694. Hendricks and Indiana State Police Officer Jim Smith then began to question Minnick without obtaining a waiver. 1 T.R. 584. During the course of the conversation, a recording device was used intermittently, and in the last portion of the recording, Minnick is heard confessing to the murder. 1 T.R. 585-590, 2596-2604, 533.

Based on information gained from the confession, police obtained a warrant to search Minnick's home, where they seized a black shaving kit containing a large quantity of change and an orange wire with a hair attached to it. 2 T.R. 1518. The hair was not mentioned in the warrant or the return, and Sgt. Hanlon of the Indiana State Police (I.S.P.) testified that he either forgot to list the hair or just failed to list it. 2 T.R. 1474. Officer Rairdon of the I.S.P. received the orange wire at the lab, and his receipt does not mention a hair. Nevertheless a hair was analyzed by the state police and found sufficiently similar to Payne's hair to be of common origin. 2 T.R. 1756. The wire was described on the warrant return as being approximately twelve inches in length and possibly a speaker wire. 2 T.R. 1468. When tested by the state police lab, no blood or skin was found on the wire, and no carbon marks were found on the ends. 2 T.R. 1721.

Dr. John Pless, a forensic pathologist and pathology professor at Indiana University, conducted the autopsy of Payne on October 28, 1981. 2 T.R. 1598. Dr. Pless determined that Payne was killed by a knife wound to her back, but had also received injuries to her neck in an attempted strangulation, a blunt force injury to her head, and marks on her ankles consistent with electrical burns. 2 T.R. 1599-1600. Dr. Pless collected hair and fiber samples, rectal, vaginal and oral swabs, and blood samples from Payne; however, he did not find any evidence of spermatozoa on the swabs. 2 T.R. 1614-15. Dr. Pless was unable to determine a time of death from his examination. 2 T.R. 1612-16.

Minnick was initially represented by Stephen Pierson, who was appointed as pauper counsel by the Putnam Circuit Court on October 28, 1981. 1 T.R. 55. Pierson filed motions for bail, for production of evidence, to suppress evidence, and for change of venue before attorney Woodrow Nasser was employed by Minnick's

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parents and entered his appearance on December 1, 1981. 1 T.R. 86-87, 89, 90, 91-92, 97. Nasser filed Minnick's Notice of Alibi Defense on March 11, 1982, as well as a motion to dismiss. 1 T.R. 171. Most importantly, Nasser briefed and argued the motion to suppress the confession made by Minnick on the afternoon of October 27, 1981. 1 T.R. 502. The case was venued to the Clay Circuit Court, the next county over, and after he denied the motion to suppress, Judge Ernest Yelton presided over Minnick's first trial. 1 T.R. 56, 199, 213. Minnick was convicted on the murder, rape, and robbery charges, although the court granted a directed verdict on the sexual deviate conduct charge, and after the jury recommended a death sentence, the court sentenced Minnick to death. 1 T.R. 328, 333, 362. Minnick appealed his conviction and sentence to the Indiana Supreme Court, and on September 7, 1984, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed his conviction and remanded the case for a new trial, finding that the confession made by Minnick on October 27, 1981 was taken in violation of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). The State filed a petition for writ of certiorari, but that petition was denied. Indiana v. Minnick, 472 U.S. 1032, 105 S.Ct. 3512, 87 L.Ed.2d 642 (1985).

On remand, Woodrow Nasser was appointed as pauper counsel for Minnick and he moved for a change of venue from the Clay Circuit Court. 2 T.R. 64, 66. The case was transferred to the Lawrence Circuit Court, where Judge Linda Chezem presided, on July 15, 1985. 2 T.R. 66. Nasser moved for production of all evidence not produced during the first trial, and that motion was granted on August 26, 1985. 2 T.R. 159, 173. The second trial then commenced on September 4, 1985 with jury selection on September 4, 5, and 6, 1985. 2 T.R. 181, 184.

As in the first trial, Brewer presented evidence from several of the Greencastle Police, Putnam County Sheriff's Department, and Indiana State Police officers who had participated in the investigation, as well as several friends and relatives of...

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