ILNews

Plea agreement, child support issues granted transfer

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to one case dealing with child support, and two cases dealing post-conviction relief. The court also granted transfer to three cases involving sex offenders.

In the case Marla K. Young v. Timothy S. Young, No. 09A05-0701-CV-52, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court's calculation of Timothy's child support obligation. The appellate court found the trial court erroneously calculated Timothy's weekly gross income, and remanded the trial court to add $100 to his weekly gross income and recalculate the amount of income to be imputed to Marla; the COA also ordered Timothy's child support obligation to be recalculated.

Two of the transferred cases - Anthony A. Hopkins v. State, No. 49A05-0705-PC-279, and State v. Michael A. Cozart, No. 22A01-0704-PC-183 - deal with plea agreements. Hopkins appealed the post-conviction court's denial of one of his claims for post-conviction relief, contending the court erred in failing to advise him of his Boykin rights, which caused his guilty plea to be involuntary and unintelligent. The Court of Appeals ordered his guilty plea vacated because the trial court only advised him of his right to trial by jury; because Hopkins admitted to the habitual offender enhancement, the COA ruled he did plead guilty to being a habitual offender.

In Cozart, the Court of Appeals affirmed the post-conviction court's order granting Cozart's petition for post-conviction relief, ruling Cozart didn't plead guilty knowingly and voluntarily. The state argued the trial court was not required to advise Cozart regarding the effect his prior felony convictions would have on the court's authority to suspend a portion of the minimum sentence he faced after pleading guilty. Cozart claimed he didn't understand the trial court was without discretion to suspend any of the minimum sentence he faced because of his prior convictions.

The three other cases granted transfer involve sex offenders - In the Matter of J.C.C., No. 49A02-0403-JV-266; Richard P. Wallace v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498; and Todd L. Jensen v. State of Indiana. All three ask the high court to decide on matters regarding registering as a sex offender. (A story in today's Indiana Lawyer Daily includes more information about these cases.)
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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