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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers Wednesday, including a case of first impression on sentence enhancements.

Joshua G. Nicoson v. State of Indiana, No. 32S04-1003-CR-150, is a case of first impression that divided the Indiana Court of Appeals about whether Joshua Nicoson's sentence enhancement based on his use of a deadly weapon violated double-jeopardy principals. The majority affirmed his 5-year sentence enhancement for the use of a firearm following Nicoson's convictions of criminal confinement with a deadly weapon and pointing a firearm.

The majority concluded it was apparent that Nicoson's convictions for confinement and the enhancement for that offense relied on separate facts. His criminal confinement conviction was elevated to a Class B felony because he was armed with a deadly weapon, and there's no requirement that the state has to prove a defendant actually used the weapon during the commission of the offense. The enhancement provision refers to actual use.

Judge Carr Darden dissented because Nicoson was charged and convicted of confining the victims while armed with a deadly weapon and of using a firearm while committing the confinement. If the deadly weapon is a firearm, how could a person thereby armed not also commit the offense of confinement using a firearm, questioned Judge Darden.

In Richard Patrick Wilson and Billy Don Wilson v. Gene Isaacs, Sheriff of Cass County, and Brad Craven, No. 09S05-1003-CV-149, the Court of Appeals held the use of excessive force is not conduct immunized under Section 3(8) of the Indiana Tort Claims Act. It reversed summary judgment in favor of Cass County Sheriff Gene Isaacs in the Wilson brothers' suit alleging injuries as a result of excessive force. The appellate court noted there has been some confusion whether the ITCA law enforcement immunity provision applies to claims for injuries resulting from the use of excessive force during detention or arrest.

There are questions about whether Kemezy v. Peters, 622 N.E.2d 1296 (Ind. 1993), still remains good law. In Kemezy, the Supreme Court found law enforcement officers owe a private duty to refrain from excessive force when making arrests and the use of excessive force isn't immunized by Section 3(8). The judges followed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana's reasoning on Kemezy to conclude the use of excessive force is not conduct immunized under section 3(8) of the ITCA.

In In the matter of the involuntary termination of the parent-child relationship of I.A.; J.H. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, No. 62S01-1003-JV-148, the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the involuntary termination of father J.H.'s parental rights in the not-for-publication decision. The father argued the Department of Child Services didn't prove by clear and convincing evidence that the conditions that resulted in I.A.'s removal wouldn't be remedied and that his relationship with his son threatened I.A.'s well-being. He argued it was I.A.'s mother's behavior and acts of negligence and not his that led to I.A.'s initial removal from his mother's home.

The Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence, such as J.H. hadn't bonded with his child and he lacked proper parenting skills after months of training.

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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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