Appeals on Wheels set to hit the road for oral arguments

The Court of Appeals of Indiana will hear several oral arguments next week across the Hoosier State.

Judges Paul Mathias, Leanna Weissman and Derek Molter will kick things off by traveling to LaGrange to hear argument in Bynum v. State, 21A-PC-608.

In 2001, Cleveland Christopher Bynum was sentenced to 300 years in prison for murdering five people. In appealing the denial of his successive petition for post-conviction relief, Bynum alleges the trial court erred in rejecting his claim that he’s entitled to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence of a 2014 cellphone recording of another man confessing to the murders shortly before that man was killed.

Arguments in Bynum will take place at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Prairie Heights High School, 0245 S. 1150 E., LaGrange, 46761.

Then at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Judges Margret Robb, Mathias and Senior Judge Randall Shepard will stop at Purdue University-Fort Wayne to hear oral arguments in Cory Chapman v. State, 21A-CR-421.

In that case, high school band director Cory Chapman allegedly sent memes involving jokes of a sexual nature to a former student. Chapman was charged with disseminating matter harmful to minors but moved for a preliminary determination of whether the matter is probably harmful to minors. A trial judge concluded “yes.”

Chapman appealed, arguing the memes do not meet the standard of “probably harmful to minors” and that, if they do meet the standard, it constitutes a violation of his First Amendment rights.

Arguments will be held in Room 159 of the Liberal Arts (LA) Building of the Fort Wayne campus, 2102 E. Coliseum Blvd.

The final stop of the week will be in French Lick during the DTCI Annual Meeting at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Judges Patricia Riley, Melissa May and Weissmann will hear oral arguments in Indiana Repertory Theatre, Inc. v. The Cincinnati Casualty Company, et al., 21A-PL-628.

Shortly after closing for the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indiana Repertory Theatre filed a claim with its insurance company, The Cincinnati Casualty Company, for coverage under the terms of its Building and Personal Property Coverage. Cincinnati denied the claim and the IRT sued for performance under the insurance contract, but the trial court ultimately ruled that damages incurred by the IRT due to the COVID-19 closure were not covered under its insurance policy.

On appeal, IRT argues the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Cincinnati Casualty because the terms “direct physical loss or damage” apply to the circumstances under which the claim was filed. Amici brief were filed on behalf of both parties.

The arguments will be held in the French Lick Resort.

Access to the courtroom will be limited to the judges, court personnel and no more than two attorneys per arguing party. All arguments may be watched live online. 

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