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11/12/87 ROBERT L. MEEKS v. JOHN T. SHETTLE

Filed: November 12, 1987.

ROBERT L. MEEKS, APPELLANT (PLAINTIFF BELOW),
v.
JOHN T. SHETTLE, AND THE INDIANA STATE POLICE BOARD, APPELLEES (DEFENDANTS BELOW)



APPEAL FROM THE HAMILTON CIRCUIT COURT, THE HONORABLE JUDITH PROFFITT, JUDGE, CAUSE NO. C85-073.

Shields, P.j.; Buchanan, J., Concurs. Robertson, J., Concurs.

Author: Shields

SHIELDS, P.J.

Robert L. Meeks appeals the trial court's decision affirming the disciplinary action taken against him by the State Police Board.

ISSUES

On appeal Meeks raises two issues:

1. Whether Indiana Police Superintendent Shettle's action disciplining Meeks was contrary to law, and

2. Whether the delay between Meeks' appearance before Shettle and action by the State Police Board violated due process.

We affirm.

FACTS

On October 24, 1980, State Police First Sergeant Meeks, while driving his State Police vehicle, attempted to pass another car, crossed the center line, and collided with a horse-drawn buggy. On December 5, 1980, John T. Shettle, Superintendent of the Indiana State Police Department, charged Meeks in connection with the accident for violating the following police regulations: (1) driving while intoxicated, (2) failing to supervise subordinate employees by allowing them to engage in personal recreational pursuits on department time, and (3) causing the negligent destruction of state property and the property of another.

On January 29, 1981, Meeks appeared before the Superintendent to answer the charges. Meeks was not allowed to have his attorney present, to confront or cross-examine witnesses, or to review witnesses' statements. On February 10, 1981, the Superintendent found Meeks guilty on all three charges and, effective February 14, 1981, demoted him from first sergeant to sergeant and suspended him for five days without pay.

Meeks appealed to the Indiana State Police Board. The Board conducted a full hearing on August 17 and 18, 1981. Meeks was represented by counsel, submitted evidence, and cross-examined all witnesses.

The Board unanimously found Meeks not guilty of the first two charges, but guilty of the third. However, because the Board could not agree upon the sanction, the sanctions imposed by the Superintendent continued in full force.

Meeks sought judicial review of the Board's decision on the third charge. The trial court found in favor of Meeks and ordered reinstatement with pay. The Board and the Superintendent appealed. In Shettle v. Meeks (1984), Ind. App., 465 N.E.2d 1136, this court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case with instructions to further remand it to the Board for further proceedings. This court held the trial court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the petition because the Board had failed to enter an appealable final order.

The Board issued a final order on November 19, 1984, again finding Meeks guilty of the third charge and, by majority vote, reinstating Meeks to the rank of first sergeant ...


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