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Supreme Court accepts 2 cases

September 20, 2011


The justices of the Indiana Supreme Court have granted transfer to a case involving a Batson challenge and another involving early retirement benefits.

In Jerrme Cartwright v. State of Indiana, No. 82S01-1109-CR-564, Jerrme Cartwright, who faced charges stemming from a fight at an American Legion in Evansville, challenged the removal of the only African-American from the jury. The majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his convictions because based on the record, they couldn’t determine which one of the state’s proffered explanations the trial court relied on to deny Cartwright’s Batson challenge.

Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented, believing the appellate court should give more deference to the trial court’s decision, and the state’s justifications for striking the juror were supported by the record.

In C.G. LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, No. 93S02-1109-EX-565, the Court of Appeals was divided on whether early retirees could continue to receive unemployment assistance. The review board determined that all employees – those who’d been on indefinite layoff when joining the early retirement program and those who were on temporary layoff or were actively working at the time – could receive benefits. The majority reversed, deciding that the workers didn’t have good cause to voluntarily leave their employment because there weren’t specific threats or plans of future plant closing or layoffs.

The employees who left due to risk of possible future changes at the company, but not due to direct threat of layoff weren’t entitled to benefits, the majority held. Judge James Kirsch dissented, believing that decision goes against legislative directive and ignores what many face in this economy.

The justices denied transfer to 23 other cases for the week ending Sept. 16.

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