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Justices take 5 cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court accepted transfer to five cases last week, including a challenge to the school voucher program.

The justices will hear Teresa Meredith, Dr. Edward E. Eiler, Richard E. Hamilton, Sheila Kennedy, Glenda Ritz, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, in his official capacity as Governor of Indiana, Dr. Tony Bennett, et al., No. 49S00-1203-PL-172, which is the constitutional challenge to the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program. The high court took the case directly from the trial level. A Marion Superior judge ruled the voucher program that allows parents to send their children to private schools, is constitutional.

The justice took Virginia Garwood and Kristin Garwood v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, No. 82S10-1203-TA-171, in which Tax Judge Martha Wentworth ruled against the state department regarding its use of a criminal tax evasion tool – jeopardy tax assessments – to go after Virginia and Kristin Garwood, whom the state alleged were running an illegal puppy mill. Wentworth ruled the state didn’t prove it had enough justification to issue the jeopardy assessments in this situation.

The high court will also hear:

In the Matter of: T.N.; G.N. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc., No. 49S05-1203-JC-165, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals found that a father’s due process rights were denied because he didn’t receive the opportunity for a fact-finding hearing. The appellate court held that fact-finding and dispositional hearings in a child in need of services case aren’t interchangeable.

Michael Dodd and Katherine Dodd v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, No. 12S02-1203-CT-170, which deals with material misrepresentations on an application for homeowners’ insurance and whether American Family Mutual could deny the Dodds’ claim after their garage was destroyed by a fire. The appellate court found disputes of material fact and ordered the trial court to take a closer look at whether the insurer rescinded the policy after discovering the misrepresentations.

Jesse J. Harris, Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 34S02-1203-CR-169, which in a not-for-publication opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed Harris’ convictions of and sentence for felony murder and two counts of Class A felony attempted murder.

The justices also denied 18 cases for the week ending March 16.

 

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