We want to correct an injustice brought upon Cleatus Furlong - Cause No. 64D01-0106-CF-4503 in the Indiana Porter County Superior Court. Our main objective is to have his conviction over-turned and be given the fair process of our justice system that we expect to have.
We will file a P.C.R. (Post - Conviction Relief) that will contain the arguements of injustice and how they should be corrected. We will point out How Cleatus' Public Defender was ineffective and failed him in his representation.
The funds will be used to afford Cleatus an attorney who will develop the P.C.R. The attorney will represent Cleatus and argue the various violations how the system failed him, in hopes Cleatus will be granted the relief he deserves and the fairness we all expect.
Cleatus was orignially charged with 3 counts (Murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and theft). He was assigned a Public Defender because he couldn't afford to hire an attorney. The Public Defender, Peter Boyles, persuaded Cleatus to take a plea agreement for all 3 counts or else he would get the death penalty or 118 years. Cleatus argued with his attorney for months over it, but as the months went by and he sat in his isolation cell and was pleaded to by his cancer ridden mother to take the plea deal, and he did just so.
Shortly afterwards, Cleatus found out the plea deal violated double jeopardy. He can not be convicted of murder AND consipiracy to commit murder -- it's illegal. Cleatus wrote the judge, asking to withdraw his plea and that he wanted a trial. The judge granted Cleatus motion and held a hearing. Cleatus' Public Defender, Peter Boyles, asked to withdraw from the case because of the breakdown between the two of them and Cleatus wanted another attorney. The judge wouldn't let Mr. Boyles withdraw, but requested an additional attorney to be added to the case. The judge also said he wouldnt accept any plea deals unless it was for all charges and unlimited sentencing. After the hearing, Cleatus didn't want anything to do with Mr. Boyles and met with his second P.D., Mr. Germin. Cleatus argued with Mr. Germin over the double jeopardy issue and shortly thereafter, Mr. Germin withdrew from the case. Cleatus was left to work with his original P.D., Mr. Boyles.
With the trial fast approaching, little work was done on the case. During the trial & after it, Mr. Boyles argued on Cleatus' behalf about many issues, even including how the charges of muder & conspiracy to commit murder violated double jeopardy. Cleatus was found guilty and sentenced to 118 years. However, the judge said he would leave the double jeopardy to the higher courts. Peter Boyles filed an appeal on Cleatus' behalf -- Cause No. 64A03-0302-CR-46, in which the appeal's court agreed with Cleatus that it was double jeopardy. They vacated the conspiracy charge leaving Cleatus with a 68 year sentence.
Cleatus was also denied the fair oppurtunity to seek an appropriate and legal plea agreement with just two charges, not three. The judge had said earlier that he wouldn't accept a plea unless it was for all three charges and unlimited sentencing. He participated in the plea negotiation process, and he was also misinforming Cleatus of the possible sentence, both of which are illegal.
Cleatus was 18 at the time of the crime. He had a co-defendant, Thomas Jay Forbes, who was also sentenced to serve a long sentence. Thomas Jay Forbes later had his sentence overturned and was given a plea of a 40-year sentence -- allowing him to be free in 2017. Mr. Forbes was approximately 28 at the time of the crime. Mr. Forbes has a criminal history of drugs and running an escort service. Whereas, Cleatus was a highschool student with NO criminal record. We find it odd that Mr. Forbes has been given a second chance and Cleatus is barred from a life. It is justice's job to rehabilitate and return those who are deemed worthy to be a productive member of society. We ask how does a career criminal get another chance at life yet a first time offender can not.
Before the crime, Cleatus was a highschool student. He played sports and other typical teenage activities. Cleatus did live with his mother and stepfather. Once his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, it tore a rift in an already broken family. After years of stress and problems between his stepfather, he was kicked out of his home and also being blamed for his mother's cancer by his stepfather. Shortly thereafter, the crime was committed. Cleatus' family could not help him due to the mountain of medical bills. His mother passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008. Cleatus has tried for many years and stayed out of trouble, completing programs and maintaining a job. He keeps trying in memory of his mother, Cherry Duran