INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Court of Appeals posed some tough questions of attorneys during oral arguments Tuesday about whether 14-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich ever should have seen the inside of an adult courtroom.
His attorneys are asking the court to overturn an April 2010 decision by Kosciusko Superior Judge Duane Huffer to waive Gingerich into adult court to face a murder charge.
Gingerich attorney Monica Foster pointed out that if she loses the appeal, she will have 30 days to appeal the finding. In comparison, the boy's trial attorneys had just five business days to prepare for the waiver hearing.
"I don't understand the rush to judgment," she said, noting she is confident Gingerich would have been found incompetent to be waived if a proper hearing had been held.
Angela Sanchez, arguing on behalf of the state Attorney General, repeatedly referred to a plea agreement Gingerich signed in adult court giving up his right to challenge the waiver proceedings.
The then-12-year-old Gingerich, along with then-15-year-old Colt Lundy, each were charged with murder in the death of Philip Danner, Lundy's stepfather. Danner was shot to death April 20, 2010, inside his Kosciusko County home.
Both boys pleaded guilty to charges of aiding in a murder.
Gingerich received a 25-year-sentence, and the Indiana Department of Correction placed him in its Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility, citing his age and the department's obligation to keep him safe.
He could be out by age 24 depending on educational credits and good-time rewards.