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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues