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Justices hear 3 transfer cases, split over 3 more

June 10, 2019

Out of 25 cases, the Indiana Supreme Court chose only to hear three on petition to transfer, all of which the justices decided last week. Justices unanimously agreed to deny transfer in most of the cases but split over three cases it ultimately rejected to hear.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Steven David first voted to grant transfer in the case of Zachary J. Taylor v. State of Indiana, 18A-CR-1757. In that case, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded there was no abuse of discretion in admitting drug-related evidence found by an officer who peered into a gap in the blinds at Zachary Taylor’s home before he conducted a “knock and talk.” 

The court also split on whether to grant transfer in State of Indiana v. Douglas Kirby, 18A-PL-2334, in which Douglas Kirby was permitted to attend his son’s school to watch him participate in activities despite a child solicitation conviction. Although a trial court denied Kirby’s bid for post-conviction relief from Indiana Code section 35-42-4-1-14, the COA found the statute was an unconstitutional retroactive punishment as applied to him. Rush and David would have granted transfer in the case.

Justices also divided on whether to hear argument in Crawfordsville Town & Country Home Center, Inc. v. Odilon Elias Cordova, et al., 18A-CT-314. The COA reversed and remanded in that case, finding that Crawfordsville Town & Country Home Center, Inc had no duty to provide additional warning to Odilon Cordova in his use of rented equipment, despite Cordova’s limited English skills.

But justices did grant transfer in the cases of State of Indiana v. Ernesto Ruiz, 19S-CR-336; Town of Brownsburg, Indiana v. Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation, 19S-PL-342; and Jordan Bradley Wadle v. State of Indiana, 19S-CR-340.

Ruiz, an accused child molester who was not convicted due to a mistrial, won his argument that incriminating statements he made during a police interrogation were rightfully suppressed during trial because he was not read his Miranda warnings. The high court’s majority reinstated the suppression formally reversed by an Indiana Court of Appeals panel, finding there was “substantial, probative evidence of circumstances that, taken altogether, met both criteria of Miranda custody.”

Then, the Town of Brownsburg did not receive as favorable a verdict after the high court collectively affirmed a denial of the town’s bid to annex property that met organized opposition in the form of a citizens group called Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation. Among other things, the justices found the town failed to meet requirements of state law that any proposed annexations be at least 60 percent “subdivided.”

Lastly, Jordan B. Wadle, who was convicted for hitting a pedestrian with his car while driving drunk, was determined to receive the same number of years behind bars, despite the Indiana Court of Appeals finding numerous double jeopardy violations among his convictions.

A full list of cases denied for the week ending June 7 can be viewed here.

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