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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.