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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers Tuesday, including a case regarding the state's "non-suspension rule," Indiana Code Section 35-50-2-2(b)(1).

In Julie A. Gardiner v. State of Indiana, No. 08A02-0810-CR-874, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined in a case of first impression that the state's "non-suspension rule" in Indiana Code depends on the status of the prior criminal conviction at the time of sentencing for a subsequent conviction. Because Julie Gardiner's prior unrelated Class D felony conviction wasn't reduced to a Class A misdemeanor at the time she was sentenced for a later drug conviction, her 20-year sentence stands.

The majority ruled if the Hamilton County trial court had immediately reduced Gardiner's prior felony to the misdemeanor, the Carroll Circuit Court would have had the discretion to order a suspended sentence. Since the Hamilton trial court postponed the reduction, Gardiner still had the Class D felony conviction on her record when she was convicted and sentenced for the Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine.

The majority noted it was frustrated by a sentencing scheme that illogically limits a judge's discretion and invited the legislature to consider amending the statutes to provide more judicial discretion.

Judge Elaine Brown dissented on the grounds she wouldn't give the non-suspension rule such a strict interpretation as to tie the trial court's hands in suspending a minimum sentence when circumstances warrant a modification.

In Jimmie Smith v. Champion Trucking Co., Inc. No. 93A02-0808-EX-701, the Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of Jimmie Smith's application for adjustment of claim with the Indiana Workers' Compensation Board. Smith should be allowed to proceed with his workers' compensation claim that was pending at the time of his settlement with the driver who struck his truck while he was working, the court ruled.

"Thus, Smith correctly observes that there may be some potential, in furtherance of the humane purposes of the Act, for some supplemental payment from an employer after the injured employee has recovered from a third-party tortfeasor an amount less than the 'apparent worker's compensation benefits' before the worker's compensation claim was resolved," wrote the court.

The high court also granted transfer to Eric P. Sibbing v. Amanda N. Cave, individually and as the mother and guardian of Mercy M. Cave, minor, No. 49A02-0802-CV-165.The appellate court ruled the trial court didn't err in allowing into evidence Cave's testimony about medical tests and the cause of her pain. Cave was injured in a car accident when Eric Sibbing's car slammed into the back of hers. Cave filed a negligence suit against Sibbing, who admitted fault.

The judges disagreed about whether the court erred in granting Cave's motion to strike portions of Sibbing's expert medical witness's testimony.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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