ILNews

Transfer granted to confrontation issue

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to five cases Aug. 14, including a case that asks whether a defendant has the right to confront the lab technician who prepared a certificate of analysis. The high court granted transfer to Richard Pendergrass v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0712-CR-588, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals in July affirmed Richard Pendergrass' convictions of child molesting. The appellate court ruled Pendergrass' Sixth Amendment right to confrontation wasn't violated with the admittance of a certificate of analysis regarding DNA samples. The documents prepared by the forensic biologist - who didn't testify at trial - weren't admitted to prove Pendergrass molested his daughter and fathered a child with her, but to provide context to a doctor's opinion. On Aug. 12, a separate Court of Appeals panel ruledRicky L. Jackson had the right to confront the lab technician who prepared a report stating he had cocaine in his system. The lab technician was on maternity leave and unable to appear in court. That panel decided a certificate of analysis used to prove an element of a charged crime constitutes a testimonial statement under Crawford v. Washington, so defendants should have the right to confront the lab technician.
The court also agreed to transfer Robert J. Pelley v. State, No. 71A05-0612-CR-726, a St. Joseph County quadruple murder case that justices heard arguments on Aug. 14. At issue in the appeal is whether appellate delays constitute "court congestion" or an emergency out of prosecutorial control as it relates to a defendant's speedy trial rights.

In Filter Specialists Inc. v. Dawn Brooks and Charmaine Weathers, and Michigan City Human Rights Commission, No. 46A05-0704-CV-203, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order affirming the decision of the Michigan City Human Rights Commission. The commission found Filter Specialists took adverse employment action against Dawn Brooks and Charmaine Weathers because they are African-American. The majority of the appellate court panel ruled the commission's decision wasn't supported by sufficient evidence. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented, writing she would affirm the commission's decision but remand for a calculation of damages for Weathers. The Court of Appeals also concluded that Filter was subject to the commission's jurisdiction, the trial court properly joined the commission, and Brooks and Weather's failure to introduce a local ordinance into evidence wasn't fatal. The Supreme Court also agreed to hear City of East Chicago, Indiana v. East Chicago Second Century, No. 49A02-0608-CV-631, and Steve Carter v. East Chicago Second Century, et al., No. 49A02-0708-CV-722, as reported Monday in Indiana Lawyer Daily.
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. 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.

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

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