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Supreme Court to hear three cases on Friday

March 8, 2018

The Indiana Supreme Court will grapple with tax law, sex offenders and juvenile delinquents when it hears oral arguments tomorrow in three cases. 

The high court will begin Friday’s arguments with a tax law case, Richardson’s RV, Inc. v. Ind. Dept. of State Revenue, 18S-TA-22. Indiana Tax Court Judge Martha Wentworth granted summary judgment to Middlebury-based Richardson’s RV, Inc. in an August opinion after finding the company’s practice of transferring recreational vehicles to customers in Michigan and then collecting out-of-state sales tax was permissible.

Specifically, Wentworth ruled that title was passed upon physical delivery of the RVs in Michigan – which does not have a reciprocal tax agreement with Indiana – so the RV dealer could continue charging out-of-state sales tax to non-Indiana customers. The Indiana Department of Revenue sought review, which the Supreme Court granted in January. The court will hear the tax case at 9 a.m. Friday.

The justices will then consider a challenge to an Indiana sex offender statute when they hear Douglas Kirby v. State of Indiana, 18SCR-00079, at 9:45 a.m. Douglas Kirby was convicted of child solicitation in 2010 and was sentenced to 18 months of probation, but the Howard Superior Court granted him permission to visit his son’s school to watch him participate in school activities.

However, when Indiana Code section 35-42-4-1-14 went into effect five years later, sex offenders like Kirby were subject to a Level 6 felony charge if they entered school property. Though the trial court denied the father’s bid for post-conviction relief from the 2015 statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the statute was an unconstitutional retroactive punishment as applied to him.

The Supreme Court granted the state’s petition to transfer the Kirby case in early February on the same day it granted transfer to T.H. v. State of Indiana, 18S-JV-80. In that case, T.H. was adjudicated as a delinquent after he threw a brick through a woman’s car window. The court found he committed what would have been Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief for causing more than $750 in damages.

A divided appellate court, however, found T.H. had only committed what would be Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief because the state failed to prove he caused $750 in damages. Judge Cale Bradford dissented from the majority opinion.

The Supreme Court will hear the juvenile case at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

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