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Justices take 5 cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court will weigh whether a student who resisted being handcuffed by a school resource officer merits adjudication as a delinquent for the equivalent of Class D felony resisting law enforcement.

Justices granted transfer to K.W. v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1301-JV-20, one of five cases the Supreme Court agreed to review in the week ending Jan. 11. Transfer was denied in 17 cases. The transfer dispositions may be viewed here.

K.W. was a 15-year-old Ben Davis High School student in Indianapolis when he and another student faced off with fists raised indicating they were about to fight. A teacher broke up the confrontation, and school liaison officer Eugene Smith, who serves as an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer employed by the school, later placed a handcuff on one of K.W.’s wrists, but the student pulled away.

Smith then initiated a “straight-arm takedown” and struggled with the student and sustained injuries in the process. After a hearing, K.W. was adjudicated a delinquent child on a charge of Class D felony resisting law enforcement when committed by an adult.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in a unanimous opinion written by Judge Edward Najam, holding that a school resource officer is not a performing official duties of a law enforcement officer under the resisting statute, therefore Indiana Code 35-44-3-3 may not apply.

The justices also granted transfer in these cases:

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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