Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in fatal chase case

The Indiana Supreme Court will decide if a man who led police on a chase that killed a driver and seriously injured two passengers can be convicted on multiple counts of resisting law enforcement after agreeing to hear the Marion County case last week.

The justices unanimously granted transfer to Matthew James Edmonds v. State of Indiana, 18S-CR-50, a case that began when Beech Grove police received a tip that Matthew Edmonds was shoplifting at a local Walmart. Edmonds fled the store when police arrived, and during the ensuing chase he ran a red light and hit a vehicle, killing driver Donna Niblock and seriously injuring two of her passengers.

Though he was convicted on three counts of resisting law enforcement, one resulting in death and two resulting in bodily injury, the Indiana Court of Appeals sua sponte reversed two of those convictions in an October opinion. The court concluded each of the three convictions stemmed from a single incident — Edmonds running the red light and striking Niblock’s vehicle.

The court used similar logic to reverse three of Edmonds’ four convictions for failing to remain at the scene of the accident. However, the appellate panel upheld his remaining convictions as sufficiently supported.

The Supreme Court also granted transfer last week to Hamilton Southeastern Utilities, Inc. v. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, et al., 18S-EX-49. In that case, the Court of Appeals upheld a Hamilton County utility’s 1.17 percent rate increase and a $450 increase in its system development charge for new development. That increase would allow the utility company to include its affiliate expenses in its utility rate calculation.

Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled for either of those cases.

The high court also denied transfer to 18 other cases last week, including Christopher Kesling, et al. v. Andrew Kesling, et al., 46A03-1701-MI-64. The justices heard oral arguments last week on petition to transfer that case, which involved the question of whether three siblings who co-own a family business with their brother, Andrew Kesling, can pursue a direct action against Kesling.

A divided appellate panel ruled in August that the siblings could not pursue the case against their brother because they failed to prove an exception under Barth v. Barth, 659 N.E.2d 559, 560 (Ind. 1995) allowed them to bring a direct action against Kesling. Judge Michael Barnes dissented.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Christopher Goff voted to grant transfer in Kesling, while justices Steven David and Mark Massa voted to deny. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter did not participate.

The full list of transfer decisions can be read here.  

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