Justices to hear sentencing, delinquency, tax cases this week

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear three oral arguments via videoconference this Thursday, considering topics including sentencing, a tax sale and a delinquent’s possession of a firearm.

Supreme Court justices are first scheduled to hear Ind. Land Trust Co. v. XL Inv. Properties, LLC, and LaPorte Cty. Auditor, 20S-MI-62 at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The high court granted transfer in that case after a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals reinstated a Michigan City property owner’s challenge to the tax sale of land sold without notice for back taxes. The lower appellate court concluded the LaPorte County auditor’s failure to check records that would have revealed the actual address of the property owner was a denial of constitutional due process.

Then, justices will hear arguments in K.G. v. State of Indiana, 20S-JV-263,  at 10 a.m. There, 16-year-old K.G. was found to be a delinquent for having committed delinquent possession of a firearm, despite the finding that  statutes in play in his case were in conflict.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed. On transfer, however, K.G. argues a delinquency adjudication cannot be based on dangerous possession of a firearm and that even if it could, the evidence was insufficient.

The high court will conclude its Thursday arguments at 11 a.m. with Marcus Lee McCain v. State of Indiana, 20S-CR-281, where a split Indiana Court of Appeals panel reduced Marcus McCain’s voluntary manslaughter sentence after finding the judge who sentenced him did so in part “to compensate for what he believed to be an erroneous verdict.”

A jury found McCain guilty of voluntary manslaughter, and the Lake Superior Court found that a firearm enhancement applied. The court sentenced McCain to 45 years, but the Court of Appeals reduced the sentence to 35 years under Appellate Rule 7(B), concluding the trial court’s sentencing decision was improperly based in part on its disagreement with the jury’s verdict of manslaughter, rather than murder.

The remote oral arguments will be livestreamed.

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