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High court grants transfers with opinions

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer with opinion to two cases today and granted transfer to another, which it remanded to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The high court issued opinions in Louis Richard Harris v. State, No. 48S02-0812-CR-637, in which Louis Richard Harris appealed his 100-year sentence for child molesting; and in Ky Morton v. Jerome P. Ivacic, No. 71S03-0708-CV-386, a tenant/landlord dispute from small claims court.

In Harris, the Supreme Court revised Harris' 50-year sentence each on two counts of child molesting to be served consecutively and ordered they be served concurrently. Harris was convicted of molesting his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter to whom he was a father figure.

Harris had committed the crimes before the Indiana legislature amended the state's sentencing statute, so the presumptive sentencing scheme applies in his case. Under this scheme, a Class A felony child-molesting conviction had a standard sentence of 30 years, with no more than 20 years added for aggravating circumstances or more than 10 years subtracted for mitigating circumstances.

The trial court identified three aggravating circumstances but didn't explain why they warranted consecutive sentences instead of enhanced concurrent sentences, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan. The justices found Harris' previous convictions of traffic violations and theft aren't significant aggravators in relation to his child-molesting charges. The aggravating circumstances warrant imposing an enhanced sentence for child molesting, but not consecutive sentences, Justice Sullivan wrote. The high court remanded with instructions to issue an amended sentencing order or make any other documents or docket entries necessary to impose a revised sentence consistent with this opinion, without a hearing.

In Morton v. Ivacic, the Supreme Court reversed the Small Claims Division of St. Joseph Superior Court order of immediate possession of a rental property to Jerome Ivacic, the landlord of Ky Morton. Morton fell behind in his rent for several months but had paid it back at the time of the court hearing and didn't believe he should be evicted.

The justices ruled Morton attempted to provide the court with testimony and a notarized affidavit and other documentation in his defense against charges levied by Ivacic, but the court denied Morton due process. The transcript of the hearing appears to indicate from the beginning an expectation that Ivacic was entitled to an order of immediate possession, wrote Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.

"Even taking into account for the informality of the small claims process, Morton was not given an adequate opportunity to say yes or no to any of Ivacic's allegations at the prejudgment hearing," he wrote.

The Supreme Court also granted transfer with a remand to the Court of Appeals in the post-conviction appeal of Raphael Miles v. State, 82A01-0711-PC-529.

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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