Why wasn’t the Notice of Appeal in my case, filed October 24, 2011, followed?
More Corruption In Dearborn County, Indiana?
During my sentencing hearing on October 24, 2011, after Judge Brian Hill sentenced me to five years in prison, my public defender, Bryan Barrett, filed a notice of appeal in my case. The notice of appeal states, “Pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 11, the court reporter of Dearborn Superior Court No. 2 is requested to transcribe, certify, and file with the Clerk of Dearborn County Courts the proceedings or hearings of record.” For some reason, the court reporter is doing everything in her power NOT to include the transcripts from ALL proceedings and hearings.
On January 25, 2012, the court reporter from the Dearborn County Superior Court No 2, Barbara Ruwe, filed a request for an extension with the Indiana Court of Appeals. Ms. Ruwe claimed the extension was necessary because she was not aware she was supposed to transcribe all proceedings and hearings. In her motion for extension of time, Barbara Ruwe informed the Court that around the filing of the notice of appeal on October 24, 2011 “Mr. Jeff Stratman was appointed as appellate counsel and through a verbal discussion with him, he only requested a transcript of the jury trial and the sentencing hearing.” Prior to my family retaining the services of civil rights and constitutional law experts, the Superior Court No. 2 appointed Dearborn County attorney Jeffrey E. Stratman as my appellate lawyer. Barbara Ruwe claimed she and Jeffrey Stratman came to a verbal agreement that she would not include transcripts from all hearings. The hearings they allegedly decided not to include were those which include my testimony explaining my ineffective counsel, not having evidence, not understanding the charges against me, etc... The “verbal discussion” that allegedly occurred between Barbara Ruwe and Jeffrey Stratman on or around, October 24, 2011, almost waived my ability to raise those issues on appeal. Even more disturbing is the fact Jeffrey Stratman was not appointed as my appellate lawyer until November 1, 2011. On November 3, 2011, Mr. Stratman acknowledged he knew nothing about my case because Mr. Stratman stated he was unaware if I could either read or write.
“If you cannot read or write and are reviewing this letter with assistance from someone, please try to notify me somehow and I will try to schedule an earlier teleconference to explain the case to you.” This is an excerpt from a letter I received from Jeffrey Stratman dated November 3, 2011. Mr. Stratman also stated, “I will generally do very little to prepare a case for the appeal prior to receiving the transcripts.” Despite the fact Jeffrey Stratman was not appointed until 11/1/11 and, as of 11/3/11, he was unaware of the nature of my case because Mr. Stratman was unsure if I could read or write, Dearborn County Superior court No. 2 court reporter Barbara Ruwe claimed that on or about 10/24/11, she and Jeffrey Stratman came to a “verbal” agreement not to follow the terms of the original notice of appeal. No motions, formal letters, or any written record of the change; just a “verbal discussion.”
It is frightening to know the extent of the corruption that runs rampant in Dearborn County. Either the Dearborn County Superior Court No. 2 appointed a lawyer to represent me who tried to waive appealable issues without having any knowledge of my case, without ever speaking to me, or court reporter Barbara Ruwe lied to the Indiana Court of Appeals about her unwritten agreement with Jeffrey Stratman to exclude documents that are critical to my appeal. A complaint to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission against Jeffrey Stratman would determine if Mr. Stratman’s actions were truly negligent or if Dearborn Superior Court No. 2 court reporter Barbara Ruwe lied to the Indiana Court of Appeals in a malicious attempt to obstruct justice in my case. If Barbara Ruwe is guilty of trying to sabotage my appeal, I highly doubt she was acting alone. Until it is determined whether the claims of Barbara Ruwe are truthful, anyone doing business with Dearborn Superior Court No. 2 should be very leery of its court reporting practices. People should also steer clear of legal services provided by Dearborn County lawyer, Jeffrey Stratman, until it is verified that Barbara Ruwe was lying about Mr. Stratman’s legal services being reckless and negligent.