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Justices accept 5 cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to five cases, including a first impression issue dealing with Social Security income and restitution.

In Rebecca D. Kays v. State of Indiana, No. 42S05-1107-CR-441, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the restitution order entered against Rebecca Kays following her conviction of misdemeanor battery. The trial court ordered she pay $1,500 to the victim but didn’t adequately consider her ability to pay. Kays lived on $647 in monthly Social Security benefits.

The appellate court found that 42 U.S.C.A. Section 470(a) precludes the trial court from considering SSI in determining the ability to pay restitution. Judge Melissa May wrote this approach follows the purpose of Social Security benefits, which is to assure that the recipient’s income is maintained at a level viewed by Congress as the minimum necessary for the subsistence of that person. The case was remanded to the trial court to determine how much Kays is able to pay.

In Sheila Perdue, et al. v. Anne W. Murphy, et al., No. 49S02-1107-PL-437, the COA found the Family and Social Services Administration’s adverse notices pertaining to public benefits programs that do not name specific missing eligibility documents don’t comport with the requirement of procedural due process.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued the FSSA on behalf of people who have applied for or receive public benefits. The lawsuit seeks to enjoin the state agency from issuing adverse action notices regarding Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

If an applicant is denied benefits, he will receive a generic notice alleging failure to cooperate, but the notice does not specify what verification document was missing. A Marion Superior court found the FSSA procedures as a whole satisfied procedural due process, but issued a declaratory judgment and injunction against FSSA because the agency had violated federal law governing SNAP by utilizing a “failure to cooperate” standard as opposed to a “refusal to cooperate” standard. The COA reversed on the due process issue and affirmed the declaratory judgment and injunction regarding SNAP.

In Rodney Nicholson v. State of Indiana, No. 55S01-1107-CR-444, the Court of Appeals was divided in reversing Rodney Nicholson’s stalking conviction. The decision looked at the term “repeated” in Indiana’s anti-stalking laws and the majority held that the state didn’t prove Nicholson’s conduct under the stalking statute was “repeated or continuing” harassment. The majority noted that the Legislature hadn’t put definitive time limitations in the statute.

Judge Cale Bradford dissented, believing the gap of time between the repeated conduct aimed at the same victim is a “non-factor” under the wording of the statute.

In Harold J. Klinker v. First Merchants Bank, N.A., No. 01S04-1107-PL-438, the Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for First Merchants Bank in its complaint for fraud and damages against Harold Klinker, who had borrowed money to buy cars for his used car dealership. Although the trial court should have considered Klinker’s affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment, as the appellate court found the affidavit was properly designated in his memorandum, the trial court was correct in granting summary judgment for the bank.

The justices also took Hugh David Reed v. Edward Reid, Reid Machinery Inc., et al., No. 40S01-1107-PL-436, a civil case out of Jennings County that has not been heard by the Court of Appeals.

The high court denied transfer to 25 cases. The justices didn’t accept or deny any cases for the week ending July 15.
 

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  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

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