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High court to hear insurance, drug, murder cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court accepted three cases June 3, including two cases in which the Indiana Court of Appeals were split in their rulings on a drug case and an insurance case.  

In Lisa Gray v. State of Indiana, No.82S01-1106-CR-328, the majority of appellate judges reversed Lisa Gray’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, finding the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gray constructively possessed the drug. The majority cited Gee v. State, 810 N.E.2d 338, 340 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), to support their decision.

Judge Cale Bradford dissented and disagreed with how the additional circumstances in Gee were used by the majority to determine intent to maintain dominion and control over the drug. He also believed that the state produced evidence that Gray was in close proximity to the marijuana and it was in plain view. That should be more than enough evidence to find she knew of the drug, he wrote.

In Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Linda Good and Randall Good, No. 85S04-1106-CV-326, the lower appellate court was split on the definition of “ever” on a home insurance application when it came to whether the homeowners’ insurance coverage was ever “declined, cancelled, or non-renewed.”

A March 2003 fire destroyed Linda and Randall Good’s home. They sued for breach of contract after the insurer held off paying the claim because of the investigation of the fire. Allied countersued, arguing that Linda misrepresented her insurance cancellation history on its application regarding whether she ever had insurance coverage denied or cancelled. The jury awarded more than $1 million in damages to Linda, but the Court of Appeals reversed, finding Linda’s misrepresentation on the application was material.

Judge L. Mark Bailey dissented, finding the application field about past insurance cancellations was unclear as to whether “ever” included all insurance companies or just Allied.

The justices also accepted Brice Webb v. State of Indiana, No. 71S05-1106-CR-329, in which Brice Webb appealed his conviction of murder for shooting his girlfriend. In a not-for-publication decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, finding the trial court didn’t err in refusing to instruct the jury on reckless homicide as a lesser included offense to murder; it didn’t err in allowing the state to charge Webb as an habitual offender beyond the statutory period allowed for amending charges; and it didn’t abuse its discretion in admitting the videotape of Webb’s police interview.

In addition to these cases, the justices also took Richmond State Hospital, et al. v. Paula Brattain, et al., No. 49S02-1106-CV-327.

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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