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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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