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Court Of Appeals Oral Arguments Coming To Mitchell Opera House Monday
Updated June 4, 2018 7:24 AM
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(MITCHELL) - Traveling oral arguments, or Appeals on Wheels, help Hoosiers learn more about the judiciary's indispensable role in Indiana government.

They also provide opportunities for Court of Appeals judges to meet and talk with a broad range of citizens in relatively informal settings. Appeals on Wheels is coming to the Mitchell Opera House on Monday.

Arguments begin at 1 p.m. and are expected to end at 1:40 p.m.

Appeals on Wheels typically occur at high schools, colleges, law schools and courtrooms, but they've also been held at conference centers, tourist sites and even retirement centers. The Court has conducted more than 400 Appeals on Wheels between its 2001 centennial and June 2013, although the program predates the centennial.

Traveling oral arguments are just like oral arguments in the Court's Statehouse courtroom. A bailiff calls the court into session, the judges enter, and lawyers for the parties present their arguments to the judges and answer the judges' questions.

One difference: After traveling oral arguments, the judges usually entertain audience questions about the law and the judiciary in general, but not about the case they've just heard.

The case involves an investigation of David Proffitt, a 48-year-old man who was arrested by Jennings County Sheriff's Department deputies in 2012. He was arrested on four felony counts of dealing narcotic drugs. An agent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aided the sheriff's department's in the investigation.

According to a news release Proffitt was accused of filling numerous prescriptions for narcotics, beyond what would be appropriate for personal use.

Confidential informants made controlled buys of narcotics from Proffitt, and then deputies asked Proffitt to come to the Jennings County Jail to discuss a business opportunity. Proffitt had previously proposed selling pizzas to jail inmates, according to the release.

Officials interrogated Proffitt during that visit and arrested him. Proffitt was also charged with a felony charge of conspiracy to commit dealing in a narcotic drug and maintaining a common nuisance.

A jury in the case acquitted him of one charge of dealing narcotics, but he was found guilty on the remaining charges, and sentenced to 34 years in jail.

In his appeal, Proffitt contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted his statements during a second interrogation after his arrest as evidence. He claims those statements were made under duress. He also believes the evidence in the case was insufficient to support his convictions and that his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character, according to the release.

The scheduled panel members are judges Edward Najam, Melissa May and Elaine Brown.

The Court also provides audiences with a Case at a Glance study guide that includes a case synopsis, biographies of the judges and the arguing attorneys, and related materials about courts and the law.

If your school, bar association or other organization would like to host Appeals on Wheels, contact the Court of Appeals at 317-234-4859.



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