Indianapolis, Indiana – A petition for rehearing currently before the Court of Appeals requests the COA to consider an odd legal question: “Can a criminal defendant waive his right to relief from a trial court altering grand jury records in an effort to sabotage the defendant’s defense?”
In 2011, Daniel Brewington became the target of a grand jury investigation and criminal trial where Brewington was found guilty of three felonies stemming from Brewington’s critical speech of Dearborn County (IN) court officials. After serving a 2.5-year prison sentence, Brewington, while serving as his own attorney, challenged his convictions via the post-conviction relief process. Among several other grounds raised in his petition, Brewington claimed the Dearborn Superior Court II altered grand jury records in a conspiracy to help the State prosecute Brewington. Special Judge W. Gregory Coy issued an ex parte order summarily dismissing Brewington’s petition in favor of the State. Brewington challenged Judge Coy’s order by filing his own appeal. Surprisingly enough, the appellate arguments by the Office of Indiana Attorney General Curtis T. Hill conceded that the trial court did in fact attempt to sabotage Brewington’s defense; however, the AG’s office argued procedural waiver precluded Brewington from obtaining relief from the conspiracy between the Dearborn Superior Court II and former Dearborn County Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard (Negangard now serves as Chief Deputy to Curtis T. Hill). In an opinion dated July 10, 2018, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed the arguments of the State and remanded the case back to Judge Coy for a “factfinding” hearing. In a filing dated July 23, 2018, Brewington filed a petition for rehearing requesting the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse Brewington’s convictions. Since the Indiana Attorney General conceded Brewington’s assertion of facts to be true, Brewington argues a factfinding hearing is now unnecessary. Brewington requests the Indiana Court of Appeals to decide whether procedural technicalities can disqualify Brewington’s right to relief from a trial court sabotaging Brewington’s defense. (The prosecution instructed Brewington to rely on the “complete” transcription of the grand jury investigation for an understanding of the indictments.) If the COA finds a Defendant cannot waive his right to relief from a trial court assisting the prosecution, Brewington’s petition argues the Indiana Court of Appeals should reverse his convictions.
To date, the Court of Appeals has not ruled on Brewington’s Petition for Rehearing.