IN justices denied all 19 transfer petitions last week

The Indiana Supreme Court bench in the Indiana Statehouse (IL file photo)

Indiana Supreme Court justices denied transfer to all 19 petitions for the week ending May 12.

Among the denials were two cases involving transgender children whose parents’ petitions to change their gender markers on their birth certificates were denied.

In one case — In the Matter of the Change of Gender of O.J.G.S. (Minor Child); S.G.S., 21A-MI-2096 — the Court of Appeals of Indiana first reversed and then affirmed a lower court’s denial of the mother’s request to change her child’s birth certificate.

The COA, noting its conflicting precedent, asked the Supreme Court to help resolve the issue. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita also asked the Supreme Court to grant transfer.

All justices concurred in denying transfer, except for Justices Geoffrey Slaughter and Derek Molter.

In the second similar case — In the Matter of the Change of Gender of K.G. (Minor Child); T.L.J., 22A-MI-502 — the COA affirmed a lower court’s denial of a mother’s petition to change her child’s birth certificate, concluding Indiana law didn’t provide the court with the authority to grant the requested relief.

All justices concurred in denying transfer, except for Justice Molter and Chief Justice Loretta Rush.

Also denied transfer was Charles R. Knight, III v. State of Indiana, 22A-CR-1361.

In that case, a former ice cream shop employee in Brown County pleaded guilty to two counts of Level 5 felony burglary after he was accused of stealing about $6,000 from his former employer in two robberies.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the state agreed his sentences would run concurrently and that the habitual offender enhancement would be capped at two years.

The former employee later attempted to withdraw his guilty pleas the day before his sentencing hearing, but the Brown Circuit Court denied the motion. He was sentenced to an aggregate of 7½ years and ordered him to pay $6,490 in restitution.

He appealed the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas and the restitution order, but the Court of Appeals affirmed in full.

Justices also denied transfer to David Joseph Guzzo, Robert Glenn Guzzo, and Betty Jo Keller v. Town of St. John, Lake County, Indiana, 21A-PL-2213.

In that case, a trio of siblings requested the town of St. John compensate them at the statutory rate of 150% of the fair market value of their property when the town acquired the land in 2014.

A trial court determined they were owed $1.28 million but denied their request to be paid at 150% the rate of the fair market value.

A split COA then found for the family, ruling the trial court “ignored the plan language” of Indiana law.

It was the second time the case had gone to the COA. The first time, the court affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment to the town. The Supreme Court then granted transfer, and Indiana lawmakers amended state law to provide for 150% of the fair market value for residential property in an eminent domain action that began before July 1, 2019.

The family filed a Notice of Change in Law and Verified Motion to Remand with the Supreme Court, and the case went back to the trial court.

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