The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

June 18, 2014

Appeal denied in 2005 prison stabbing

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Joshua Ketchem who claimed he was represented ineffectively by counsel during the original trial and his subsequent appeals.

Ketchem was arrested on March 5, 2005, after he and a fellow inmate at the Pendleton Correctional Facility stabbed and beat up another inmate. After a trial in November of that same year, a jury found Ketchem guilty of attempted aggravated battery, attempted murder and possessing material capable of causing bodily injury while an inmate.

He was sentenced to 57 years in prison.

In an opinion handed down Wednesday, the court agreed with a decision made earlier that Ketchem's counsel did not misrepresent him.

In his post-conviction appeal, Ketchem argued his counsel failed to cross-examine a key witness properly, failed to object at appropriate times while that witness was on the stand and didn't object during jury instruction regarding self-defense.

An inmate who saw the attack was the key witness in the trial against Ketchem and his co-defendant. Ketchem argued the prosecution asked several leading questions that painted him in a negative light. The court reviewed the record and found, while Ketchem's counsel did not object, the co-defendant's counsel did. The prosecutor was advised to ask some leading questions to avoid the witness saying anything about Ketchem's possible prison gang activity, which could have led to prejudice against the defendants.

The court found the actions taken or not taken by Ketchem's counsel did not have any negligible effect on the trial.

"Ketchem has failed to show that the evidence, as a whole, unmistakably and unerringly points to a conclusion contrary to the post-conviction court's decision," the decision read.

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.

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