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Supreme Court declines to set aside tax deed

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The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a trial court’s decision to set aside a tax deed, finding the Marion County auditor’s office satisfied the due process requirement articulated by the United States Supreme Court.

Sawmill Creek LLC, a Wyoming entity, purchased four acres of unimproved land on Rockville Road in Marion County. The closing statement, general warranty deed and the title insurance policy named the purchaser as “Saw Creek Investments LLC.” Bill Simpson, the manager of Sawmill Creek, didn’t notice the error. When Simpson moved his office from a Dandy Trail address to a location in Brownsburg, he stopped receiving tax bills on the property and became delinquent. The auditor tried sending notices of the sale to the Dandy Trail address through first class mail, but they came back as undeliverable and unable to forward. The auditor even sent notices to the previous owner, which also came back undeliverable. A title search didn’t reveal the new address of Sawmill Creek because the title company was using the incorrect name.

The property was sold at tax sale to McCord Investments. It wasn’t until an acquaintance of Simpson saw “for sale” signs posted on the property did Simpson learn of the tax sale. He filed a motion to set aside, which the trial court granted.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, but a majority of justices reversed, finding the auditor’s office did what it could to attempt to notify Simpson and Sawmill Creek of the sale. The majority cited Mullane v. Cent. Hanover Bank & Trust, 339 U.S. 306, 313, 70 S. Ct. 652, 656–57, 94 L. Ed. 865, 873 (1950), Jones v. Flowers, 547 U.S. 220, 126 S. Ct. 1708, 164 L. Ed.2d 415 (2006), and Dusenberry v. United States, 534 U.S. 161, 122 S. Ct. 694m 151 L.Ed.2d 597 (2002).

In Marion County Auditor, and McCord Investments, LLC v. Sawmill Creek, LLC a/k/a Saw Creek Investments, LLC, No. 49S02-1106-CV-364, the majority also rejected Sawmill’s argument that notice must be posted on the property when the owner of record can’t be located through any reasonable means.

Justice Robert Rucker dissented, writing he agreed with the decision by the Court of Appeals.

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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