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Justices accept 2 cases, decline feticide case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken two cases and declined to accept more than two dozen petitions seeking transfer.

During its private conference on Oct. 13, the state’s justices granted transfer petitions in the cases of Reginald N. Person Jr. v. Carol A. Shipley, No. 20S03-1110-CT-609, and John Witt, et al. v. Jay Petroleum, Nos. 38S02-1110-CV-608.

In Person, the Court of Appeals in May reversed a civil jury verdict in favor of Shipley and remanded for future proceedings. The case involved a 2004 Elkhart County accident. Person, the driver of an 18-wheeler semi tractor, sued Shipley, the driver of a sedan, after Shipley fell asleep at the wheel and her smaller car rear-ended his truck and resulted in his injuries. The jury found in favor of Shipley and awarded no damages, and the 2010 trial led to appellate issues about what expert witness testimony should be allowed. The appellate court found that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the prejudicial expert testimony.

In Witt, the courts are analyzing a case involving underground storage tanks that were located on a former gas station lot in Portland, Ind., and led to environmental concerns and litigation. The appellate court found that the trial court erred when it held the appellants in contempt of court, both because a temporary restraining order was improvidently granted and because the appellants’ conduct during a June 2008 hearing didn’t constitute a willful violation of the terms of the order.

The justices denied the remaining 28 cases, including the case of Brian Kendrick v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1003-CR-300, which involves the man who shot a pregnant teller during a bank robbery in Indianapolis in 2008. That shooting led to the death of her twins, one being stillborn. The appellate court earlier this year vacated Kendrick’s two felony feticide convictions because of double jeopardy violations. The judges remanded for resentencing, noting the trial court can now consider Katherine Shuffield’s pregnancy and termination of it in crafting Kendrick’s sentence for attempted murder, as long as the aggregate sentence is not more than 53 years. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Steven David voted to grant transfer, but the three other justices denied the request.

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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