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High court grants 5 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted five transfers late on July 2, including cases on possession of cocaine in a family housing complex and "no fault" attendance policies in workplaces.

In Shewanda B. Beattie v. State of Indiana, No. 82A01-0805-CR-247, Shewanda Beattie's conviction of possession of cocaine in a family housing complex was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals because the jury acquitted her of the lesser-included offense of possession of cocaine. The unanimous panel didn't reverse her conviction due to insufficient evidence, but because the inconsistency in the jury's verdict left them unable to determine what evidence the jury believed. The judges relied on Owsley v. State, 769 N.E.2d 181 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), to reverse Beattie's conviction and remand for a new trial on the charge of possession of cocaine in a family housing complex.

In Gary Dennis Jackson v. State of Indiana, No. 39A01-0711-CR-528, the Court of Appeals reversed Gary Jackson's conviction of battery resulting in serious bodily injury, ruling the trial court abused its discretion by granting a mistrial after discovering five jurors read a newspaper article about jury selection for Jackson's second trial. The trial court didn't explain why it granted the mistrial instead of admonishing the jury. The discharge of the jury at his second trial operated as an acquittal and the subsequent trial was a violation of his right to be free from double jeopardy. Judge Cale Bradford dissented, believing the trial court was within its discretion to grant the mistrial and permit a retrial without violating Jackson's double jeopardy protections.

In Gloria Murray, et al. v. City of Lawrenceburg, No. 15A04-0803-CV-122, the majority affirmed the trial court denial of the city's motion for judgment on the pleadings because the appellate court couldn't say Gloria Murray and others were required to bring a claim for inverse condemnation because the ownership of the disputed property hasn't been determined. The majority also reversed the denial of Murray's demand for a jury trial. The case was remanded to resolve the timeliness of her claims, sever the timely filed distinct legal claims, and grant the demand for a jury trial as to those claims. Chief Judge John Baker dissented, believing the result reached by the majority will effectively preclude most, if not all, inverse condemnation actions in the future.

The high court also granted transfer to two cases involving the issue of "no-fault" attendance policies, where the Court of Appeals had split in their decisions regarding the reasonableness of such policies: Lisa Beckingham v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Cenveo Corp., No. 93A02-0808-EX-771, and John Giovanoni II v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Clarian Health Partners, Inc., No. 93A02-0806-EX-545. Both Lisa Beckingham and John Giovanoni were fired as a result of multiple excused absences.

In Beckingham's appeal, the Court of Appeals held the reasoning set forth in Jeffboat Inc. v. Review Board of Indiana Employment Security Division, 464 N.E.2d 377 (Ind. Ct. App. 1984), and Beene v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Employment and Training Services, 528 N.E.2d 842 (Ind. Ct. App. 1988), is the better rationale for determining the reasonableness of an employer's attendance policy. The majority in Beckingham's appeal affirmed she was discharged for just cause under Indiana Code Section 22-4-15-1(d)(2). Judge Edward Najam dissented, writing he would have followed the reasoning of the majority in Giovanoni, which ruled that termination for unsatisfactory attendance must be analyzed solely under section (d)(3). In Giovanoni, the majority ruled Love v. Heritage House Convalescent Center, 463 N.E.2d 478, 482, (Ind. Ct. App. 1983) provided a sounder model for determining eligibility for unemployment benefits when the employee is fired for attendance issues.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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