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Indiana Supreme Court: Post-Conviction Expert Testimony On Jailhouse Confessions Not "Newly Discovered Evidence"
Posted in Litigation

On May 8, the Indiana Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion affirming a post-conviction court’s decision not to entertain expert testimony on the reliability of jailhouse confession witnesses. 

In Whedon v. State, the post-conviction court concluded that the proffered expert testimony was generally inadmissible and also did not meet the requirement that it be “newly discovered evidence,” since the testimony was directly tied to the testimony of jailhouse witnesses that was offered at trial.  The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.  Whedon v. State, 900 N.E.2d 498 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009).

On transfer, the Indiana Supreme Court summarily affirmed the Indiana Court of Appeals’ opinion, but clarified that “[b]ecause the claim that the testimony of the two jailhouse witnesses had not been truthful did not constitute ‘newly discovered evidence,’ it was not available for collateral review. [The expert’s] testimony was properly excluded on those grounds and it was therefore not necessary to address the issue of its general admissibility.”

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