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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. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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