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Vehicle forfeiture order affirmed despite state’s yearlong delay

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A convicted cocaine dealer failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that summary judgment forfeiture of his yellow 2004 Hummer was a violation of trial rules, even though the state’s motion for summary judgment was in response to a court show cause order due to case inactivity for more than a year.

Pro se appellant Victor Hugo Mesa argued the forfeiture of his vehicle violated multiple rules and that he was entitled to a hearing before the forfeiture. The state alleged Mesa purchased the vehicle with proceeds from dealing cocaine.

Jackson Circuit Judge William E. Vance last June issued the forfeiture order on the state’s summary judgment hearing. The Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday in Victor Hugo Mesa v. State of Indiana, 36A01-1308-MI-362, finding no merit in Mesa’s argument that he was entitled to a hearing or that the matter should have been dismissed.

“Because Mesa did not (1) properly request a summary judgment hearing, or (2) designate any evidence to show that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the vehicle was seizable under Indiana Code § 34-24-1-1(a)(3), the trial court did not err by granting summary judgment to the State,” Judge Rudy R. Pyle III wrote for the majority, joined by Judge Cale Bradford.

Judge Paul Mathias wrote a concurring opinion “to emphasize that Mesa’s complete failure to designate any evidence to contradict that designated by the State in its motion for summary judgment negated any reason for a hearing.”

The majority noted, however, that a case pending before the Indiana Supreme Court – Detona Sargent v. State, 985 N.E.2d 1108 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013), reh’g denied, trans. granted – was argued March 20 and involves forfeiture of a vehicle on summary judgment.   

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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