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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues 3 today

In Mary Elizabeth Santelli, as Administrator of the Estate of James F. Santelli v. Abu M. Rahmatullah, Individually and d/b/a Super 8 Motel, a 16-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

In this negligence case we address the application of Indiana’s Comparative Fault Act to the issue of fault allocation in a specific context: that in which a premises owner has a duty to protect a business invitee from the foreseeable criminal act of a third party. * * *

We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

In Juan M. Garrett v. State of Indiana, a 19-page opinion with a separate concurring opinion, Justice Rucker writes:
We hold that the “actual evidence” test announced in Richardson v. State, 717 N.E.2d 32 (Ind. 1999) is applicable to cases in which there has been an acquittal on one charge and retrial on another charge after a hung jury. We conclude however that the post-conviction court properly denied the petitioner’s claim that counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to pursue this issue at trial or on direct appeal. * * *

Conclusion. Garrett has failed to show that the evidence as a whole leads unerringly and unmistakably to a conclusion opposite that reached by the post-conviction court. Therefore we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Dickson, C.J., and David and Rush, JJ., conur.
Massa, J., concurs in result. [beginning on p. 18 of 19] I agree that, for reasons clearly stated in Part III of the Court’s opinion, the post-conviction court properly denied Garrett’s ineffectiveness claim; thus, I concur in result. I do not, however, share my colleagues’ belief that “there is a reasonable possibility that the evidentiary facts used by the jury in the first trial to establish the essential elements of Rape, for which Garrett was acquitted, may also have been used on retrial,” and therefore I cannot join the Court’s conclusion “that Garrett was twice prosecuted for the same offense in violation of Article 1, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution.”

In State of Indiana v. Russell Oney, a 12-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:
Although a defendant who pleads guilty to driving while suspended as a habitual traffic violator may not later challenge the plea contending that an underlying offense has been set aside on grounds of procedural error, a defendant may be entitled to relief where an underlying offense has been set aside on grounds of material error.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 28, 2013 12:00 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions