GOSHEN — A man convicted of murder in 2007 appeared in Circuit Court on Thursday, July 11, for a post-conviction relief hearing as scheduled, but asked for extension of time in his case.
Robert Shorter, 27, of Elkhart, filed the petition in November 2012, arguing “ineffective assistance of trial counsel, ineffective assistance at appeal counsel and ineffective assistance prior to trial,” according to court files. This was the second time he made a petition for post-conviction relief. The first time in 2010, he withdrew his petition.
Any person convicted of a crime in Indiana can request post-conviction relief if he or she claims the sentence was inadequate as imposed in the Indiana Rules of Court.
If a court finds in favor of the petitioner, it will enter an order appropriate to the conviction or sentence, such as disposition, retrial, correction of sentence or custody.
A trial jury found Shorter guilty on the charge of murder for the death of Franklin Stotts, Jr. April 20, 2005.
During the hearing Thursday, Shorter said he was not ready to go forth on the post-conviction relief hearing because he needed more time to prepare. Shorter is representing himself. Shorter told the court his attorney filed a motion to withdraw appearance from the case in early May, giving him only two months to prepare for the hearing and that he wished an extension of four months.
The court granted the request over prosecuting attorney David Francisco’s objection. Francisco argued he was ready to go ahead with the hearing Thursday, and that Shorter had six months since the hearing had been scheduled to prepare.
Judge Terry Shewmaker said the court would reschedule the hearing and give Shorter notice of the new date.