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Supreme Court takes 3 cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to three cases, dismissed one and declined 16 cases for the week ending Oct. 21.

In John R. Berry IV v. State of Indiana, No.49A04-1008-CR-536, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed John Berry’s conviction of Class A felony attempted murder and remanded with instructions to find Berry not guilty by reason of insanity and for further proceedings as required by the Indiana Code. The appellate court looked at whether a person’s mental disease brought on by years of drinking could support an insanity defense. The judges concluded Berry’s psychosis was a mental defect under the law.

In Michael J. Lock v. State of Indiana, No. 35A04-1010-CR-641, Michael Lock appealed his conviction of Class D felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are suspended. He contended the state failed to prove his 2009 Yamaha Zuma was a motor vehicle, and the appellate court agreed, reversing his conviction. The COA was split in reversing Lock’s conviction, with Judge John Baker dissenting.

The justices also accepted Otha S. Hamilton v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1110-CR-621 and released an opinion on the case Oct. 19.

The justices voted 3-2 to dismiss Warren L. Williams, et al. v. David Orentlicher, et al., No. 49A02-1003-PL-249, in which the COA had held that the trial court properly denied Warren Williams’ and David Frankel’s motion to compel arbitration. The appellate court ruled that the two former leaders in the Indiana State Teachers Association – who served as trustees for a legally separate insurance trust – can’t force the trust’s governing board to adhere to arbitration clauses outlined in their ISTA employment contracts. Judge James Kirsch dissented because he believed Williams’ and Frankel’s respective ISTA responsibilities were an integral foundation for what they did as ex officio members for the trust.

Justices Frank Sullivan and Robert Rucker voted to deny petition to transfer, rather than dismiss.
 

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