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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers Wednesday, including a case of first impression on sentence enhancements.

Joshua G. Nicoson v. State of Indiana, No. 32S04-1003-CR-150, is a case of first impression that divided the Indiana Court of Appeals about whether Joshua Nicoson's sentence enhancement based on his use of a deadly weapon violated double-jeopardy principals. The majority affirmed his 5-year sentence enhancement for the use of a firearm following Nicoson's convictions of criminal confinement with a deadly weapon and pointing a firearm.

The majority concluded it was apparent that Nicoson's convictions for confinement and the enhancement for that offense relied on separate facts. His criminal confinement conviction was elevated to a Class B felony because he was armed with a deadly weapon, and there's no requirement that the state has to prove a defendant actually used the weapon during the commission of the offense. The enhancement provision refers to actual use.

Judge Carr Darden dissented because Nicoson was charged and convicted of confining the victims while armed with a deadly weapon and of using a firearm while committing the confinement. If the deadly weapon is a firearm, how could a person thereby armed not also commit the offense of confinement using a firearm, questioned Judge Darden.

In Richard Patrick Wilson and Billy Don Wilson v. Gene Isaacs, Sheriff of Cass County, and Brad Craven, No. 09S05-1003-CV-149, the Court of Appeals held the use of excessive force is not conduct immunized under Section 3(8) of the Indiana Tort Claims Act. It reversed summary judgment in favor of Cass County Sheriff Gene Isaacs in the Wilson brothers' suit alleging injuries as a result of excessive force. The appellate court noted there has been some confusion whether the ITCA law enforcement immunity provision applies to claims for injuries resulting from the use of excessive force during detention or arrest.

There are questions about whether Kemezy v. Peters, 622 N.E.2d 1296 (Ind. 1993), still remains good law. In Kemezy, the Supreme Court found law enforcement officers owe a private duty to refrain from excessive force when making arrests and the use of excessive force isn't immunized by Section 3(8). The judges followed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana's reasoning on Kemezy to conclude the use of excessive force is not conduct immunized under section 3(8) of the ITCA.

In In the matter of the involuntary termination of the parent-child relationship of I.A.; J.H. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, No. 62S01-1003-JV-148, the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the involuntary termination of father J.H.'s parental rights in the not-for-publication decision. The father argued the Department of Child Services didn't prove by clear and convincing evidence that the conditions that resulted in I.A.'s removal wouldn't be remedied and that his relationship with his son threatened I.A.'s well-being. He argued it was I.A.'s mother's behavior and acts of negligence and not his that led to I.A.'s initial removal from his mother's home.

The Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence, such as J.H. hadn't bonded with his child and he lacked proper parenting skills after months of training.

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  1. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  2. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  3. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

  4. If our State Government would sue for their rights to grow HEMP like Kentucky did we would not have these issues. AND for your INFORMATION many medical items are also made from HEMP. FOOD, FUEL,FIBER,TEXTILES and MEDICINE are all uses for this plant. South Bend was built on Hemp. Our states antiquated fear of cannabis is embarrassing on the world stage. We really need to lead the way rather than follow. Some day.. we will have freedom in Indiana. And I for one will continue to educate the good folks of this state to the beauty and wonder of this magnificent plant.

  5. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

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