ILNews

Court didn't err in ordering cash bond

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s order that the two beneficiaries of a piece of property who objected to the sale of the land must each pay a $100,000 cash bond. The case also gave the appellate court the opportunity to decide the standard of review in this type of challenge.

John Cox and Daphne Barger were among several beneficiaries named in Doris P. Jackson’s will to receive 120 acres. A coal company offered to buy the land for $1.4 million dollars and the six other beneficiaries wanted to sell the land to pay off the obligations of the estate. Cox and Barger objected.

Following Indiana Code Section 29-1-15-4, the trial court granted the personal representatives of the estate’s request that Cox and Barger post a bond to pay the estate’s obligations, which were estimated at around $124,000. Cox and Barger were ordered to each pay $100,000. They filed this interlocutory appeal.

The Estate of Doris P. Jackson, John Cox, et al. v. George R. Jackson, II, et al., No. 77A04-1005-ES-331, happened to be the first time the Court of Appeals determined the standard of review for the type of challenge raised by Cox and Barger. They argued the trial court erred by requiring more than three times the amount of cash bond than was necessary from the objecting beneficiaries and by requiring a cash bond instead of one with a surety.

The appellate court concluded that because I.C. Section 29-1-15-4 lets the trial court “approve” both the amount and form of the bond, the abuse of discretion standard is appropriate. They also found the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by ordering the high amount in a cash bond. The bond must be sufficient to pay all the obligations of the estate, not just the objecting beneficiary’s proportionate share, wrote Judge Terry Crone.

Because the difference in value between the estate’s obligations and the “other property” in the estate is at least $100,000, the trial court’s setting the bond at $100,000 wasn’t an abuse of discretion.

The statute references sureties, but the appellate court has previously held that cash can qualify as a surety.

“We cannot conclude that a trial court abuses its discretion in ordering a cash bond simply because it might pose a hardship and be more expensive than another form of surety,” he wrote. “Because that is the full extent of Appellants’ argument on this issue, we find no abuse of discretion in this case.”

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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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