Unger attorney files for post-conviction relief

Monday, July 6, 2009

An Indianapolis attorney representing a Greencastle man who received an eight-year prison sentence in February has filed a petition for post-conviction relief on his client's behalf.

A telephonic pretrial to be initiated by attorney Jeffrey A. Baldwin on July 20 has been set in the case of Jay C. Unger, 55, who is currently incarcerated at the Putnam County Jail. Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley sentenced Unger after a jury found Unger guilty in December of Class B felony aggravated battery, Class C felony battery by means of a deadly weapon, Class D felony criminal recklessness and two counts of Class B misdemeanor battery.

Unger was also ordered to pay nearly $47,000 in restitution.

The petition cites 11 reasons Unger's convictions should be set aside. They include:

* Counsel failed to the state's "untimely" motion to amend charging information.

* Counsel allowed admission of exhibits that were not present at the time of the incident that led to Unger's conviction.

* Counsel's failure to object to introduction of improper evidence, hearsay, vision impact evidence, improper expert testimony, Putnam County Sheriff's Department Officer Craig Sibbett's "characterization that petitioner 'fled' the scene of the incident that led to Unger's convictions.

* Counsel failed to move for a directed verdict at the close of the state's case.

* Counsel "failed to object when the prosecutor made improper comments to witnesses in the presence of the jury."

* That the state made "improper statements" in their closing and counsel failed to object.

* That the court allowed the jury to separate without admonishing them and counsel did not object.

The petition also states that the state asked for unauthorized monies in Unger's restitution order.

Unger was represented by Greencastle attorney Darrell Felling, whom he retained, throughout the trial.

A notice of appeal was filed in Unger's case on March 11. A verified petition to remand or stay appeal was filed by Unger's attorney on April 20, and that petition was granted by the Indiana Court of Appeals on May 6.

Unger was charged after a September 2007 altercation in which he struck his brother-in-law, Jack Mace, in the head with a baseball bat. Mace was airlifted from the scene of the fight to an Indianapolis hospital, and suffered permanent hearing loss and brain damage.

During the incident, Unger also assaulted his sisters, Gene Ann Judy and Mary Jane Mace.

Unger said during court proceedings that Mace came at him first and that he acted in self-defense.

Headley ordered that Unger would serve three years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, three years on home detention and two years on probation.

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  • Wow, this is a tough case. Good evidence that the Unger/sisters altercation is totally seperate from the Mace/Unger altercation. Is it common practice to appeal with a new lawyer and use your previous counsels performance as evidence?

    -- Posted by Xgamer on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 5:34 PM
  • I know all the folks involved. This was just the culmination of issues that have been brewing a long time. If Jack had not brought the bat into the argument he would not have been hit with it.Jay left but went to the Danvile hospital for medical treatment where Jack had hit him first.I said it before, if these kids dad were alive, they would have been sent to their room before things went this far. Unfortunately, I can't say here what really caused this, but most of the people who know them, know the real cause$

    -- Posted by crusty on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 11:09 PM
  • Blaming the first lawyer is a standard appeal tactic.

    -- Posted by unbiased on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 6:02 AM
  • Why do people think that violence is the answer??? I don't get it. Yeah, I've heard it too.....$$$ Guess what, it doesn't solve all problems. Look at the mess now....

    -- Posted by bannerstuff on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 9:04 AM
  • I hope Jay gets a reduction to time served. He is a great guy who has done a lot for Putnam County and was nearly a model citizen up to this point. The judge truly had a lack of good judgement in sentencing. Some no goods have gotten away with lighter sentences. Perhaps a better idea would have been a short probation time with court ordered family therapy. As it stands now 3 families have been destroyed and a good man sits in jail most likely as a result of bad counsel and a judge with poor judgement.

    -- Posted by jakedog1 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 2:25 PM
  • Time served while someone has permanent brain damage from being beaten with a bat. Yeah right. I have no problem with the length of time. He is lucky he didn't get charged with attempted murder or heaven forbid actually killed someone.

    -- Posted by testmet on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 5:58 PM
  • There are other facts as to the person that started the whole issue-and that person is no longer with us. Jay C. has been railroaded to the hilt. All of this should have been brought out in court. Mace should have stayed out of it-he brought the bat into the argument between the sisters and brother. Jay C needs to be home so he and his family can work out their problems. They are all good people and they will reunite as a family as strong as they were in the past and move on.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 6:36 PM
  • Why does it matter who brought the bat? If you beat an unarmed person in the head with it, I don't think it is self defense anymore. If the victim felt bad for the defendant, why didn't he testify in his behalf?

    -- Posted by testmet on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 7:04 AM
  • hey jakedog1, you say J. Unger has done a lot of good things for Putnam County. Would you name some of them? He and his son have always had an anger management problem and it came to a head with this

    -- Posted by albert on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 8:02 PM
  • If someone comes at you with a gun and says they are going to use it on you. what are you going to do. Hmmm I would take it and use it on them.Yes thats self defense. Quite whining. It isnt going to change a thing. He is in jail and if he gets out because a technicalities so what.Thats they way the law works. gotta dot the I's and cross the t's, even a crappy prosecutor knows that. At least he made it to jail unlike the money stealing women as of late.

    -- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 4:05 PM
  • Crusty-I agree with you. I can't say what I know about this family. I know them all very well-and your're right most people that know them, know the real cause.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 4:18 PM
  • BLAH BLAH BLAH....tired of hearing about the bat swinging convict. Does it matter who did what and who said what...and why point fingers at this lady...nothing like a bit of mudslinging to add fuel to the fire.

    Seems its about time to stop the commentary Banner Graphic.

    -- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 5:53 PM
  • I will admit that after posting my comment, I feel a little guilty. What I said to Gene Ann reflects my true feelings, but there is probably a better way to approach it. This whole situation frustrates me. As others have said, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There has been dissension in that family for years. It's so sad that it would come to this and that one man would end up behind bars while others walked away free, regardless of their roles in the arguement.

    -- Posted by putnamcountyrefugee on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 7:29 PM