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Supreme Court grants 5 transfers

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Indiana's top jurists granted transfer Wednesday in five cases and will consider issues involving physicians who leave foreign objects in a patient's body, parental termination hearings conducted without the parent, timely court-filing deadlines, and the sentencing options courts have after probation violations.

In Russell Prewitt v. State of Indiana, No. 10A04-0610-CR-589, the Court of Appeals in April reversed a Clark County case in which the judge revised a sentence after the defendant violated his probation. The appellate judges held that the lower court only had the authority to use one of three statutory options, not two as it did in ordering him to serve two years of a previously suspended sentence and then to enter a state hospital on his release. The sentencing options a trial court has on probation violations now becomes a key issue in the latest appeal for justices to consider.

A second transfer came in Chi Yun Ho, M.D. v. Loretta M. Frye and Thomas Hoffman, Personal Representative of the Estate of Charles Frye, No. 67A01-0603-CV-122, which is a medical malpractice case from Putnam Circuit Court. During a 2000 procedure on Frye, Dr. Ho and the surgical nurse and technician reported he had retrieved the number of sponges used during the surgery. But in 2001, it was discovered a sponge had been left in her abdomen and she needed additional surgeries to remove it, an abscess, and to heal the wound. She eventually sued and ultimately accused the doctor of negligence for failing to remove the sponge; the trial court denied a motion for summary judgment. But on appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial in that Frye was entitled to partial summary judgment because the doctor didn't carry his burden of proof.

Justices will also consider Erica Lockett v. Marion County Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc., No. 49A02-0611-JV-995, which involves an involuntary parental termination hearing conducted in the absence of a mother. She claimed that violated her due process rights, and both the trial court and appellate judges found this didn't violate her rights.

The high court also granted transfer in State of Indiana v. Universal Outdoor, Inc., No. 49A05-0609-CV-536, involving a court-filing deadline for exceptions to appraisers' reports. The appeals court held in April that exceptions are timely if filed within 20 days of the filing of the appraisers' report but no later than 20 days after the county clerk sends notice of the report to the parties.

A fifth transfer came in Sophia Willis v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-06110-CR-982, which involved a Court of Appeals decision from May delving into the legal distinctions between corporal punishment and child battery. That appeal affirmed a Marion Superior Court judgment finding sufficient evidence to convict a mother for spanking her son with a belt or extension cord. (See separate Indiana Lawyer Daily story.)

The justices also granted transfer this morning in a sixth case but remanded it without an opinion to the Court of Appeals. That case, Melonee Cooper v. State, No. 26A05-0701-JV-55, involves parental rights and the timely notice of appeal. The appellate court had dismissed it in April, but the justices ruled they should not have done so and should consider issuing an order clarifying all briefing-related deadlines.
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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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