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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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