Like millions of Americans I watched the Netflix series Making A Murderer and was completely horrified. I was not surprised by the behavior of the police or the prosecutor’s office; for those of us that have tried major felony cases in the United States, the sort of shenanigans portrayed in Netflix’s series are everyday life. (see Indiana State Tox lab false reporting of drug tests for starters http://archive.indystar.com/article/20120330/NEWS14/303300002/Star-Watch-Indiana-lacks-answers-toxicology-lab-tests-used-criminal-cases)
Prosecutorial misconduct occurs here in Indianapolis and thankfully our Court’s have started to admonish prosecutors. http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06021401jgb.pdf Even alleged frame ups like those Mr. Avery claims was visited upon him not once but twice occur here in Indiana as well (http://www.greensburgdailynews.com/news/local_news/wrongfully-convicted-former-greensburg-woman-to-try-to-settle-lawsuit/article_95cda02e-eed6-5bd0-a9f4-fee03257f802.html)
What was most surprising to me was that Brandon’s first attorney Len Kachinsky was not disbarred. From the outset I was confused by Len’s approach, perhaps since his client had already “confessed” to police Len was trying to get more contradictory statements of his client out into universe of evidence to discredit his prior “confession.” I was put of by Len speaking to the media before he spoke to his client However I disregarded any ideas of a novel strategy when Brandon spoke to police on a Saturday without his lawyer present- it was obvious that Len wanted his client to plead guilty and that Len expected in return for delivering a guilty plea and a cooperating witness for the State to use against Mr. Avery- Len would be rewarded in his next judicial race. The trial court in Brandon’s case clearly erred in admitting Brandon’s confession with the private investigator Len hired, the Prosecutor’s clearly violated the Rules of Ethics by introducing that statement, but the Wisconsin bar bears the most fault here.
It is beyond comprehension that Len Kachinsky did not lose his bar license for his conduct while representing Brandon. By failing to punish Len Kachinsky for throwing his client under the proverbial bus the Wisconsin Office Of Lawyer Regulation showed what length disciplinary associations will go to protect their own, particularly politically connected lawyers.
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A head coach, assistant coach, and athletic director at a Tennessee high school have been charged for failing to report the sexual abuse of four athletes by other athletes. In Indiana, we have trouble convincing the prosecutor to enforce the mandatory reporting laws (in one of our cases, the prosecutor is actually arguing that the information is privileged), but you should know what the law is:
Ind. Code § 31-33-5-1: “In addition to any other duty to report arising under this article, an individual who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect shall make a report as required by this article.”
In other words . . .
In Indiana, every adult is a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect.