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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer this week to three cases, including a first impression case involving whether someone who has drugs within 1,000 feet of a youth program center run in a church can have their conviction enhanced.

In Walker Whatley v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0809-CR-808, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Walker Whatley's Class A felony conviction of possession of cocaine, ruling he wasn't within 1,000 feet of a "youth program center" because the building is a church running mostly faith-based programs. The issue of felony enhancement for a violation of a "drug free zone" defined as a youth program center hadn't been the subject of an Indiana decision.

Whatley argued because the church doesn't bear an identifier to say it's a "youth program center," the statute provides no basis for people to know if they are within 1,000 feet of one.

Examining cases from other jurisdictions, the appellate court unanimously decided the church was and remains a church and isn't converted into a youth program center by reason of its faith-based activities for young people. The pastor of the church even testified that all of the services and events for children are essentially faith based.

In Travelers Indemnity Company of America v. Jerry Jarrells, No. 29A02-0807-CV-669, the appellate judges couldn't agree on the application of a previous case involving the set-off of workers' compensation payments, which led to a split court and three separate opinions. The case involved Travelers Indemnity Co.'s attempt to recoup a portion of workers' compensation benefits following a jury trial.

Judges Carr Darden, Nancy Vaidik, and Patricia Riley disagreed as to the application of Pendleton v. Aguilar, 827 N.E.2d 614, 621 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), to the instant case. The majority - Judges Darden and Vaidik - found Travelers was entitled to summary judgment but for different reasons. The majority presumed the jury followed the trial court's instructions and applied the law contained within it; thus, Travelers is entitled to a statutory lien and or reimbursement, wrote Judge Darden. Judge Patricia Riley dissented, writing the majority attempts to distinguish Pendleton on the basis it involves an insurer seeking a pro rata reimbursement, but she believes Pendleton is on point for the situation in the instant case.

The majority remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Travelers and to determine the value of Travelers' lien and pro rata share for purposes of reimbursement.

In Foundations of East Chicago Inc., et al. v. City of East Chicago and State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0711-CV-987, the appellate court affirmed the trial court order dismissing Foundations of East Chicago's complaint challenging legislation that allowed the city of East Chicago to exercise its authority to select recipients of economic funding provided by a riverboat casino. The city has always had the authority to enact an ordinance to modify the arrangement between casino operators, organizations, and the city, regardless of Section 302 of the 2007 Budget Act. Judge Elaine Brown concurred in result with Chief Judge John Baker in the appeal; Melissa May dissented, for the same reasons as she did in City of East Chicago v. East Chicago Second Century, Inc., 878 N.E.2d 358, 365-68 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007).

Foundations asked for transfer for the high court to decide whether the decision usurped the Gaming Commission's regulatory authority and the attorney general's power to investigate local development agreement issues on the commission's request; whether in holding East Chicago could "always" alter or terminate the agreement contravenes the Supreme Court's ruling in Zoeller v. East Chicago Second Century Inc., 904 N.E.2d 213 (Ind. 2009); and whether other issues involving the 2007 Budget Act merit the high court's review in resolving an overall controversy in which it has granted transfer in two related cases, one awaiting a decision. Foundations also questions whether the ruling in the instant case interferes with the high court's exclusive transfer jurisdiction and prior decisions that judgments are res judicata pending appeal until reversed.

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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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