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Justices reverse COA, hold state’s appeal timely

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday reversed a divided Court of Appeals panel’s dismissal of an appeal of suppression of evidence in a drunken-driving case.

The justices held that the 30-day deadline in Appellate Rule 9 for filing a notice of appeal when a party files a motion to correct error applies to the state in a criminal case.

The Court of Appeals in State of Indiana v. Elvis Holtsclaw, 49S02-1205-CR-264, agreed with Elvis Holtsclaw’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the state’s appeal of suppression of breath tests after a car wreck that led to the filing of drunken-driving charges. The Court of Appeals dismissed the state’s appeal.

“Appellate Rule 9 states that “if any party files a timely motion to correct error, a Notice of Appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days after the court’s ruling on such motion ... or thirty (30) days after the motion is deemed denied ... whichever occurs first,” Justice Mark Massa wrote for the unanimous court.

“The state is undoubtedly a party, and Holtsclaw concedes that the state’s June 21, 2011 motion to correct error was timely. The trial court denied that motion on July 25, 2011. Pursuant to Appellate Rule 9, the state then had until August 24 — thirty days “after the court’s ruling on such motion” — to file its notice of appeal. The state filed its notice of appeal on August 19, well in advance of that deadline. Thus, the appeal is timely,” Massa wrote.

“We remand this case to the Court of Appeals for consideration of the merits of the State’s appeal.”    
 



 

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