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Supreme Court Argument Preview: Week of March 2, 2009
Posted in Litigation

On Thursday, March 4, beginning at 9 a.m., the Indiana Supreme Court will hear two arguments.

In Helton v. State, the defendant pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after one day of trial.  He then sought post-conviction relief, arguing that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel.  Helton’s petition claimed his trial counsel was ineffective because he did not file a motion to suppress evidence that was obtained pursuant to a search warrant. 

Helton asserted that the trial court would have granted the motion to suppress, he would not have pleaded guilty, and the State would not have had sufficient evidence to convict him.

In this published opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that Helton’s trial counsel was ineffective as a matter of law and reversed the conviction.  The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer of the appeal.  See the Court’s description of the case here.

In Williams v. Tharp, two African-American men sued a Papa John’s restaurant and its employee after the employee falsely reported that one of the plaintiffs had pulled a gun when picking up a pizza.  Police detained the men, in handcuffs and on their knees, for an hour and a half while they investigated. 

The men alleged defamation, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims, but the trial court granted summary judgment against them on the grounds that the complaint to the police contained no defamatory statement, that the employee’s statement was privileged even if defamatory, and the employee did not act intentionally or in an extreme and outrageous manner.

In this published opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment order.  The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer of the appeal.  See the Court’s description of the case here.

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