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Justices grant 2 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to consider cases that involve a trial court's handling of a mentally ill murder defendant, and whether the First Amendment protects a volunteer firefighter's e-mails about the township department's financial situation.

Justices granted transfer in two cases during its weekly conference on April 1, when it considered a total of 17 cases.

Gregory L. Galloway v. State of Indiana, No. 33A02-0906-CR-280, which involves a murder case out of Henry Circuit Court where the defendant claimed he should have been acquitted because of mental insanity. The Court of Appeals in January affirmed the lower court's finding that he was guilty but mentally ill for the 2007 murder of his grandmother. The appellate court found that Thompson v. State, 804 N.E. 2d 1146 (Ind. 2004), compelled it to leave the judgment in place, despite the appellate judges' sympathy for Galloway's circumstances.

Bradley J. Love v. Robert Rehfus, individually and in his capacity as fire chief of the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department, and Sugar Creek Township, No. 30A01-0905-CV-250, which involves volunteer and part-time firefighter Bradley Love's firing about an e-mail he sent out about the department's financial situation. He won his first round of appeals of the trial court's summary judgment granting in favor of fire chief Robert Rehfus and Sugar Creek Township. The trial court ruled as a matter of law that Love didn't engage in protected First Amendment activity when sending the e-mail. Using precedent from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1968 and another by the Indiana Court of Appeals in 2006, the appellate court concluded the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court found that caselaw says if no damage is proven, then the statements may be protected even if they are false.

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