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Friday, October 01, 2004

Indiana Decisions - Transfer List for Week Ending October 1, 2004

Here is the Indiana Supreme Court's transfer list for the week ending October 1, 2004. For other recent lists, check "Indiana Transfer Lists" under "Categories" in the right column.

Seven cases were granted transfer by the Supreme Court today:

Jedediah J. Haltom v. State of Indiana (Access IBL summary and case link here; 3rd case)

Kimberly S. Ham v. State of Indiana (Access IBL summary and case link here; next to last case)

Donna K. Stites v. State of Indiana (Access IBL summary and case link here; 6th case)

Donna J. MacLafferty v. William P. MacLafferty (Access IBL summary and case link here; 3rd case)

Gene & Carolyn Lasater v. Donald House, Sr. (Access IBL summary and case link here; 2nd case)

Estate of Jackie L. Crabtree, Jr. v. Alicia Crabtree, et al. (Access IBL summary and case link here; 2nd case)

Frank Nagy, et al. v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation (Access IBL summary and case link here; 5th case)

Nagy is the subject of this AP story posted this afternoon by the Indianapolis Star and this story in the Evansville Star-Press. Some quotes from the latter:
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide if the Evansville public school system's $20 activity fee is constitutional. At issue is whether the $20 student fee, imposed by the School Board beginning the 2002-2003 school year to offset part of a budget deficit, amounts to a tuition charge. The Indiana Constitution says the state shall provide public education without tuition.

In one sentence, the state high court agreed to review the case, and it granted Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp.'s request for oral arguments, which were scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 23 in Indianapolis (8 a.m. Evansville time).

On May 28, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the activity fee is tuition, and therefore is unconstitutional. According to rules of appeals procedure, the appellate court ruling's automatically was vacated when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter. In turn, that put back in force a 2003 ruling by Vanderburgh Superior Court Judge J. Douglas Knight. * * *

"It's not at all surprising to be that they (state Supreme Court justices) did what they did," said Pat Shoulders, attorney for the school corporation. "I thought the Court of Appeals decision was shocking in its breadth."

Besides declaring the activity fee unconstitutional, the appellate court's ruling in May also called into question a 1974 ruling - also by the Court of Appeals - that refused to block the South Bend school system's book-rental fee. In that case, the Court of Appeals concluded book rental fell beyond the definition of tuition. Knight cited the South Bend case in his decision that the Evansville activity fee was constitutional.

But Court of Appeals Judge Patrick J. Sullivan, referring to the 1974 case, wrote for the majority in May: "We are not beholden to blindly follow what we consider to be an erroneous ruling."

Because of the constitutional issue involved, neither Shoulders, Evansville resident Frank Nagy, who originated the lawsuit, nor Indiana Civil Liberties Union attorney Jacqueline Bowie Suess were surprised the state Supreme Court took up the case. "The Supreme Court has not spoken on this issue, so it's not surprising that they'd want to hear it," Suess said from her Indianapolis home Thursday night.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 1, 2004 04:55 PM
Posted to Indiana Transfer Lists