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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. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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