Indiana Supreme Court to Hold Oral Argument at Portage High School October 30, 2015


The Indiana Supreme Court will travel to Portage High School in Portage, Indiana on Friday, October 30, 2015 to hear the case, Leonard Suggs v. State of Indiana (02S03-1508-CR-510).  The general public is invited to attend, along with students from various schools in Porter County. (The link to the Official Page can be found here.)

Oral argument is a process by which both sides of a case argue based upon the content of their briefs, which are generally twenty five (25) page documents outlining the authorities and arguments for their respective sides.  In this case, present will be the State of Indiana (by its Deputy Attorney General, Katherine Cooper) and Mr. Suggs’ Criminal Defense/Appellate Attorney, Paul S. Miller of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

This case is a criminal case. In order for criminal cases to reach the Indiana Supreme Court, one (1) of three (3) things must have occurred: first, the case must have already been decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals, or second, the case involves an issue of the Indiana Constitution, or third, a mandatory Indiana Supreme Court review of all death sentences. In this case, the Indiana Appellate Court has already ruled, and the Indiana Supreme Court elected to grant transfer and hear this case.

The present case involves events that took place in a bowling alley in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The record states that the Defendant threw a bowling ball at the side of the head of his then girlfriend, Evelyn Garrett, causing her injury and pain.

The case was filed under charges of Domestic Battery, as a Level 6 Felony.  In order to charge the crime as such, the State must prove that the victim was “living as the spouse” of the Defendant. According to the Indiana Court of Appeals Record, the two cohabitated for two (2) years, sharing a bedroom and engaging in an intimate relationship.  The Defendant, Leonard Suggs, argues that this is insufficient to demonstrate that the victim was “living as a spouse”, while the State of Indiana contends that the two were clearly within such definition.  Up to this point, both the Allen County trial court and the Indiana Court of Appeals has agreed with the State of Indiana.  The Indiana Supreme Court will be the final authority on the case, and will bind future decisions based on its opinion.

SFT Lawyers looks forward to seeing you there!