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Justices accept 4 cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court took four cases for the week ending Jan. 7, including a case in which a convicted child molester asked for his sentence to be reduced but ended up having it ordered to be increased due to a sentencing error.

In Donald Pierce v. State of Indiana,  No. 13S04-1101-CR-7, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Donald Pierce’s convictions of three counts of Class A felony child molesting and one count of Class C felony child molesting. Pierce appealed his convictions and original 124-year sentence. The judges found a sentencing error and remanded with instructions to attach Pierce’s fixed 10-year term for being a repeat sexual offender to one of his Class A felony sentences for an aggregate sentence of 134 years.

In Nathan D. Brock v. State of Indiana, No. 38S02-1101-CR-8, the Court of Appeals affirmed Nathan Brock’s conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after forfeiture of license for life. He argued his convictions violated double jeopardy because the trial court granted the state’s request for a mistrial at the close of the first trial in absence of a manifest necessity to do so, and then it allowed the state to retry him, which resulted in his conviction. The mistrial and retrial didn’t violate double jeopardy, the judges ruled.

In Debra L. Walker v. David M. Pullen, No. 64S05-1101-CT-6, the Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of David Pullen’s motion to correct error after a jury verdict. Debra Walker’s car hit Pullen’s vehicle as they were waiting in a drive-thru lane. Pullen, who had pain after the accident, sued Walker for negligence. The jury originally awarded him $10,070, but he filed a motion to correct error because he believed the verdict was contrary to the evidence. The trial court granted the motion and ordered a new trial on damages only.

In D.M. v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1101-JV-11, the Court of Appeals affirmed the finding that D.M. was delinquent for committing what would be Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft if committed by an adult. He argued the juvenile court erred by admitting his statement to police into evidence because he didn’t have the opportunity for a meaningful conversation with his mother before waiving his rights and that neither the waiver nor his subsequent statement were voluntarily made.
 

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  1. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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