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Justices take commitment case involving man with Alzheimer’s disease

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The Indiana Supreme Court will take a case that divided the Court of Appeals: whether a trial court is required to have a man with Alzheimer’s disease committed once an incompetency finding is made.

On interlocutory appeal, judges Michael Barnes and John Baker affirmed the trial court’s decision to deny committing William Coats to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction. Coats was charged with Class D felony sexual battery against his granddaughter, and two doctors diagnosed him with dementia and found he won’t ever be restored to competency.

The majority held that it would be best for the trial court to follow statutory commitment procedures, but given Coats’ dementia and the finding he won’t be restored to competency, that the trial court’s decision was not an error. Judge Patricia Riley dissented, writing that the statutory scheme does not allow the trial court discretion over the statutory commitment procedures.

The case is State of Indiana v. William Coats, 49S02-1305-CR-328.

The justices also accepted Derek Asklar and Pauline Asklar v. David Gilb, Paul Garrett Smith d/b/a P.H. One Trucking, Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Co., d/b/a Zurich, 02S03-1305-CT-332; and Ernesto Roberto Ramirez v. State of Indiana, 45S05-1305-CR-331.

In Asklar, the Court of Appeals found the trial court erroneously applied Georgia law in a lawsuit brought by a truck driver injured in a collision in West Virginia because the trucking company that employed Derek Asklar was based in Georgia. But Indiana law applies because Asklar was driving a truck registered and principally garaged here.

In a not-for-publication decision in Ramirez, the Court of Appeals affirmed convictions of murder and Class D felony criminal gang activity. Ramirez claimed the trial court improperly denied his motion for a mistrial due to alleged jury misconduct and that his sentence for murder is inappropriate.

The justices denied transfer to 21 cases for the week ending May 10.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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