SCOTUS doesn't take any Indiana cases

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The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to take several Indiana cases, including a criminal appeal about whether a stun belt restraint on a defendant during trial and sentencing is prejudicial.

At the start of its new term Monday, the SCOTUS released an 89-page order list of cases it considered. A final decision wasn’t made on all cases presented, but the court’s docket and order list shows the justices did deny six certiorari requests from Indiana.

Those denials include: James Guyton v. U.S., No. 10-10266, a crack cocaine sentencing case from the Northern District of Indiana; and Herbert Seay v. Bridget Foy, et al., a prison conditions case from the Southern District of Indiana.

The justices also denied John M. Stephenson v. Bill Wilson, No. 09-2924, involving a convicted murderer’s claim that he was improperly restrained with a stun belt during his trial, leading to a wrongful conviction. The federal case follows Stephenson’s jury conviction and death sentence in 1997 on three murders. U.S. Judge Theresa Springmann in 2009 threw out his death sentence and ordered a new trial on the stun belt claim during the penalty phase, but the 7th Circuit in 2010 remanded and asked her to reconsider her ruling that hadn’t addressed other legal issues. Although Stephenson is currently entitled to a new trial, his attorneys in March asked the SCOTUS to consider the stun belt issue.

Other cases the court declined:

• Shirley Jablonski and Jeff Sagarin v.City of Bloomington, No. 10-1520, which arises from an Aug. 20, 2010, ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals involving inverse condemnation. One issue in that complex case was the appellate court’s analysis of and disagreement with the city’s claim that a property easement was established by prescription or common law dedication, finding Bloomington did not establish a prescriptive easement based on the public’s use of a pathway.

• John Felder v. Indiana, No. 11-5216, which stems from a July 2010 ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals affirming a judgment in favor of the state and several Indiana Department of Correction employees relating to John Felder's incarceration at Pendleton Correctional Facility and how officials were allegedly negligent in collecting urine samples for drug testing.

• Antoine McSwaine v. Indiana, No. 10-11046, from the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision in March not to grant transfer on an appeal the state’s intermediate appellate court had dismissed in November 2010 on grounds that it appeared to be a successive post-conviction relief request not allowed.

Later this week, the SCOTUS is expected to consider several writs of certiorari. Among them is Clarence K. Carter v. Chief Justice and Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana, et al., No . 11-5684, a case involving a man who sued the state’s Board of Law Examiners because he wants to take the bar exam without going to law school. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis dismissed the case with prejudice earlier this year for failure to state a claim warranting relief.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.