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Judges disagree on state's ability to appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a divided ruling Thursday on whether the state could appeal the denial of its motion to correct error after the trial court granted a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence. The majority decided the state’s appeal should be dismissed as untimely.

In State of Indiana v. Elvis Holtsclaw, No. 49A02-1108-CR-743, Elvis Holtsclaw moved to suppress the chemical tests that supported his various drunk-driving charges. The trial court granted the motion, after which the state filed a motion to correct error within 30 days. The trial court denied that motion.

After the state dismissed the charges against Holtsclaw, it appealed the order granting the motion to suppress and the order denying the state’s motion to correct error.

In dismissing the appeal, Judges L. Mark Bailey and Carr Darden relied on the language of Indiana Code 35-38-4-2, which they said only confers on the state the authority to appeal an order granting a motion to correct error, not the authority to appeal from the denial of a motion to correct error.

Judge John Baker dissented because he didn’t read I.C. 35-38-4-2 as precluding the state from appealing. He said nothing in that statute stated or implied that Appellate Rule 9 shouldn’t apply to appeals initiated by the state.

“In my view, foreclosing the State from seeking redress through a more direct route, such as filing a motion to correct error in circumstances such as these, is simply not a sound application of the language embodied in Indiana Code section 35-38-4-2,” Baker wrote. “Moreover, I do not believe that our General Assembly intended the result reached by the majority in this circumstance when construing the provisions of Indiana Code section 35-38-4-2 and our court rules. Such a holding effectively elevates form over substance, which we are loathe to do.”

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

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

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