ILNews

Transfer granted to confrontation issue

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to five cases Aug. 14, including a case that asks whether a defendant has the right to confront the lab technician who prepared a certificate of analysis. The high court granted transfer to Richard Pendergrass v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0712-CR-588, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals in July affirmed Richard Pendergrass' convictions of child molesting. The appellate court ruled Pendergrass' Sixth Amendment right to confrontation wasn't violated with the admittance of a certificate of analysis regarding DNA samples. The documents prepared by the forensic biologist - who didn't testify at trial - weren't admitted to prove Pendergrass molested his daughter and fathered a child with her, but to provide context to a doctor's opinion. On Aug. 12, a separate Court of Appeals panel ruledRicky L. Jackson had the right to confront the lab technician who prepared a report stating he had cocaine in his system. The lab technician was on maternity leave and unable to appear in court. That panel decided a certificate of analysis used to prove an element of a charged crime constitutes a testimonial statement under Crawford v. Washington, so defendants should have the right to confront the lab technician.
The court also agreed to transfer Robert J. Pelley v. State, No. 71A05-0612-CR-726, a St. Joseph County quadruple murder case that justices heard arguments on Aug. 14. At issue in the appeal is whether appellate delays constitute "court congestion" or an emergency out of prosecutorial control as it relates to a defendant's speedy trial rights.

In Filter Specialists Inc. v. Dawn Brooks and Charmaine Weathers, and Michigan City Human Rights Commission, No. 46A05-0704-CV-203, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order affirming the decision of the Michigan City Human Rights Commission. The commission found Filter Specialists took adverse employment action against Dawn Brooks and Charmaine Weathers because they are African-American. The majority of the appellate court panel ruled the commission's decision wasn't supported by sufficient evidence. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented, writing she would affirm the commission's decision but remand for a calculation of damages for Weathers. The Court of Appeals also concluded that Filter was subject to the commission's jurisdiction, the trial court properly joined the commission, and Brooks and Weather's failure to introduce a local ordinance into evidence wasn't fatal. The Supreme Court also agreed to hear City of East Chicago, Indiana v. East Chicago Second Century, No. 49A02-0608-CV-631, and Steve Carter v. East Chicago Second Century, et al., No. 49A02-0708-CV-722, as reported Monday in Indiana Lawyer Daily.
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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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