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Indiana Supreme Court Argument Preview: Week of June 22, 2009
Posted in Litigation

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear three arguments on Thursday, June 25.

At 9 a.m., the Court will hear McGhee v. State.  The Madison Circuit Court convicted McGhee of incest after he had sex with his 25-year-old niece.  The conviction was based on a confession obtained after a detective told him that his conduct was not criminal if the sex was consensual.  In this opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, holding that the confession was involuntary and that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting it.  The court reasoned that though the detective was not being intentionally deceptive, McGhee's confession was brought about by the detective's misstatement of the law and the State did not show why McGhee should suffer the consequences of the detective's mistake. 

At 9:45 a.m., the Court will hear Babes Showclub v. Lair.  Patrick Lair, a police officer, filed a complaint to recover damages for injuries he sustained from a patron of the owners’ club while the officer was responding to a complaint on the club’s premises.  The club’s owners moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that the claims were barred by the fireman’s rule.  The trial court denied the owners’ motion.  In this opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of the motion to dismiss.  It held that the officer’s general negligence, negligent security, and common law dram shop claims were barred by the fireman’s rule.  Further, the Court of Appeals noted that the officer did not allege that the owners committed any positive wrongful act that resulted in the officer’s injuries and, to the extent that the owners violated any statutes or ordinances, nothing indicated that those laws were enacted specifically to protect police officers.

At 10:30 a.m., the Court will hear Indiana Family & Social Services Administration v. Meyer.  In this case, the Alice Meyer Trust petitioned for judicial review of a final agency action by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).  After the Trust failed to transmit the agency record on time, the FSSA moved to dismiss the petition.  The Ripley Circuit Court denied the motion to dismiss and corrected an error in an administrative law judge (ALJ) order.  The FSSA appealed the denial of the motion, arguing that the trial court was divested of jurisdiction to address the trustee's petition for judicial review because the trustee did not file the agency record on time.  In a split decision in which all three judges wrote separately, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court.  In this opinion, the Court of Appeals reasoned that despite the fact that the trustee did not file the agency record on time, there was substantial procedural compliance by the trustee and obvious substantive error in the ALJ's decision. 



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