February 11, 2016                                                                                       




Media Contact:  Curtis T. Hill, Jr. - 296-1888


The Office of the Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney filed a petition today in the Elkhart Circuit Court requesting modification of the conviction and sentence in the matter of State v. Jose Quiroz.  This action is intended to provide equitable relief for Quiroz in light of the Indiana Supreme Court ruling in the companion co-defendant cases involving Levi Sparks, Blake Layman and Anthony Sharp.  In those cases, the Supreme Court reversed convictions based upon an  Elkhart County Jury’s findings that the defendants were guilty of murder, and in doing so, held that no rational jury could find that defendants’ conduct was “dangerously violent and threatening.”  While the Prosecuting Attorney supports the jury’s conclusions based upon the law, this office further recognizes the authority of the Indiana Supreme Court to interpret the law as they would determine. 

The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney has determined no sufficient legal grounds exist to warrant the modification of Quiroz’s conviction or sentence insomuch as he gave a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary admission to the charge of murder pursuant to the Indiana Statute on murder and consistent with the prior precedent of the Indiana Supreme Court.  Nevertheless, the court’s determination in the companion co-defendants’ cases has created an inequitable result which, in the interest of justice, requires a remedy. 

Accordingly, the Prosecuting Attorney has requested that the court modify the conviction under this circumstance and enter a conviction and sentence consistent with that of the co-defendants as directed by the Indiana Supreme Court in their cases.  The defendant and his counsel have joined in this motion.  The Motion for Modification of Conviction is attached hereto for further detail.   

The Indiana General Assembly has recognized in the law of Murder, I.C. 35-42-1-1, that burglary is an inherently dangerous act, thus requiring no further “dangerous, violent or threatening conduct” in order to evoke the felony murder provision.  The Prosecuting Attorney reiterates his previous determination that the homeowner acted reasonably under the law in defending his home and person from violent, threatening and dangerous conduct perpetrated by the defendants. 

*  *  *

Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.