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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Unger plans to seek post-conviction relief

Saturday, November 20, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A Greencastle man currently on house arrest for convictions stemming from the September 2007 battery of his brother-in-law is set to be in court Dec. 6 for a hearing on post-conviction relief.

Jay C. Unger, 57, was sentenced on February 16, 2009 to

In late March, Unger was approved for transfer into community corrections. According to the Indiana Department of Correction Web site, he was actually moved from a DOC facility into house arrest on April 22.

Unger was found guilty at the conclusion of a December 2008 jury trial 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 felony misdemeanor battery. The charges were the result of an altercation between Unger and his brother-in-law Jack Mace.

Under the Indiana Rules of Court, post-conviction relief is available to any person who has been convicted of or sentenced by an Indiana court.

Remedies can be granted to convicted individuals who claim their sentences were in violation of the U.S. Constitution or laws of the state of Indiana; that the court that sentenced them was without jurisdiction; that the sentence exceeds the maximum allowed by law or is otherwise erroneous; that there exists evidence of material facts not previously presented or heard that make vacation or the conviction of sentence necessary; that the individual was unlawfully held in custody; or that the conviction or sentence is subject to collateral attack upon any ground of error.

During the fight that led to Unger's conviction, Unger hit Mace in the head with a baseball bat. At Unger's sentencing hearing, Mace testified that he had sustained permanent hearing loss and brain damage as a result of the fight.

Unger maintained throughout the trial that he only struck Mace in self-defense, and that Mace had threatened him first.

Judge Matthew Headley sentenced Unger to three years at the Indiana Department of Correction, three years on home detention and two years on probation. Headley also ordered Unger to pay Mace nearly $47,000 in restitution.

At the time Unger was approved for home detention, he was house at IDOC's Reception Diagnostic Center -- an intake facility at which inmates may only be visited by legal representatives and members of the clergy.

Unger's attorney, Jeffrey Baldwin, filed an appeal on behalf of his client on March 11, 2009. A verified petition to remand or stay appeal was filed on Unger's behalf on April 20, 2009.

The original petition for post-conviction relief for Unger was filed on June 26, 2009. In the petition, Baldwin claims that Darrell Felling, the attorney who represented Unger at his sentencing, made several errors. The petition claims that Unger's conviction should be set aside,

The petition also said Putnam County Deputy Prosecutor James Hanner, who represented the state in the case, "made improper comments to witnesses in the presence of the jury" and "made improper statements in their closing."

The first hearing on the petition for post-conviction relief was set for March 15. It was then continued to June 14, then to July 26 and finally to Oct. 14 before the December date was set.

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