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Justices grant 3 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers and dismissed one case during its conference late last week, when the justices examined a total 35 cases that were before them for possible transfer.

The City of Indianapolis, et al. v. Christine Armour, et al., No. 49S02-1007-CV-402, which the Court of Appeals had ruled on Dec. 30, 2009. The appeal stems from a class-action lawsuit involving 2004 sewer assessments, in which 30 property owners had paid up-front assessments of $9,278 apiece while other neighbors had started installment plans of $309 apiece. The city ultimately abandoned the Barrett Law in favor of a flat $2,500 fee apiece for future hookups. An appellate panel had ordered the city to issue refunds of $8,968 to the 30 households in the Northern Estates subdivision, but now the justices have accepted the case.

Matthew A. Baugh v. State of Indiana, No. 18S04-1007-CR-398, which comes from a 2-1 ruling in May by the Court of Appeals. The majority determined the defendant had waived his claim that the trial court failed to comply with the statutory requirements for making a sexually violent predator determination. Chief Judge John Baker and Judge Terry Crone ruled the issue waived because Baugh failed to object to the determination at sentencing, but Judge Carr Darden dissented and wrote: “How could a constitutionally competent attorney allow his client to suffer the consequences that befell Baugh without advising him of the statutorily required hearing, at which he could subject the experts' conclusions to the crucible of cross-examination?”

David Hopper v. State of Indiana, No. 13S01-1007-PC-399, in which the Court of Appeals had ruled in April that the requirement to advise a defendant of the dangers of self-representation and the benefit of counsel applies equally regardless of whether a pro se defendant is choosing to plead guilty or go to trial.

In five of the other appeals that justices denied transfer on, three got a single vote supporting transfer while Justice Theodore R. Boehm didn’t participate in the transfer-denying decisions of two others. The justices also dismissed the case of Saul I. Ruman, et. al. v. Denise Benjamin, No. 64A05-0901-CV-39, in which the appellate court late last year had decided to affirm Denise Benjamin’s motion to correct error when the trial court had vacated an earlier summary judgment entry for Saul Ruman.
 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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