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Opinions Dec. 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Brenda Alexander v. Donald Alexander
32A05-1108-DR-417
Domestic relations. Affirms in a divided opinion the trial court denial of a motion to correct error of the court’s omission of an award for incapacity maintenance for Brenda Alexander. She claimed that testimony of her disabilities and court findings supported an award, but the majority held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on ruling that such an award was not warranted.

A Plus Home Health Care Incorporated v. Kathleen Miecznikowski
93A02-1207-EX-558
Civil. Affirms Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision in favor of Miecznikowski on her claim for workers’ compensation. Agrees with the board’s conclusion that her fall was a neutral risk and therefore compensable.

Christine Banks v. Timothy R. Banks
45A03-1203-DR-96
Domestic Relation. Affirms trial court’s reduction in the amount of spousal maintenance Christine Banks receives from her ex-husband Timothy Banks. The COA rejected Christine Banks’ argument that Indiana law does not permit incapacity spousal maintenance to be modified, noting it was incorrect. The court stated when an obligor spouse suffers a deterioration in financial condition that is the result of factors beyond his or her control, he or she should not be forced to continuing paying maintenance based on a better financial condition.  

Melissa Patterson v. State of Indiana
34A02-1203-CR-235
Criminal. Reversed and remanded a trial court’s denial of Patterson’s motion to the charges of aiding, inducing or causing invasion of privacy as a class A misdemeanor. Patterson was charged because she twice visited her fiancé after she had obtained a no-contact order against him. The COA held the Indiana General Assembly did not criminalize the actions of a protected person to invite the subject of a protective order to violate the terms of the order.

Granite State Insurance Company v. Robert Lodholtz and Pulliam Enterprises, Inc.
71A04-1111-CT-635
Civil Tort. Affirms in a 2-1 opinion the trial court denial of Granite State to intervene in a suit in which its claims administrator failed to respond to Lodholtz’s claim in a workplace injury suit, resulting in a default judgment and subsequent $3.9 million damages award. The majority held that because Granite State reserved a right to deny coverage in its offer to represent Pulliam in an effort to vacate the judgment, it had an interest that was at best contingent and insufficient to support intervention. Judge John Baker dissented, holding that Granite State’s interest is not being protected.

Bert S. Watkins, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A01-1203-CR-103
Criminal. Affirms three-year sentence for obstruction of justice, a Class D felony, with habitual offender enhancement.

Nicholas Corbin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1202-CR-161
Criminal. Affirms convictions of burglary as a Class B felony, burglary as a Class C felony, attempted burglary as a Class C felony, theft as a Class D felony, auto theft as a Class D felony, resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony and a Class A misdemeanor, three counts of receiving stolen property as a Class D felony, and criminal mischief as a Class B misdemeanor.

Brian Taskey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
67A04-1204-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery resulting in bodily injury and Class D felony neglect of a dependent. COA found the state presented sufficient evidence to prove Taskey committed the charged offenses.

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: MS. and M.T.; and A.H. and T.S. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
07A04-1204-JT-217
Juvenile Termination of Parental Rights. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights of A.H. (mother) and T.S. (father) to their respective children.

William C. Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
65A04-1206-PC-307
Post Conviction Relief Petition. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief. After the post-conviction court denied Davis’ petition the first time, the COA affirmed much of the decision but remanded for further proceedings related to several of Davis’ claims. The post-conviction court again denied Davis relief and the COA affirmed.

Henry Coyne Woodward v. Kimberlee Ann Norton (NFP)
71A03-1207-DR-311
Domestic Relation. Affirms money judgment in favor of Norton for Woodward’s failure to transfer funds from a retirement account to her. Reverses and remands for proceedings the order finding Woodward in contempt because the judgment that Woodward pay Norton a fixed amount is not enforceable by contempt.

Benito D. Lesiak v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1204-CR-183
Criminal. Affirms conviction of reckless homicide, a Class C felony.

Dewayne Walker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1204-CR-199
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary, finding trial court did properly deny Walker's request to instruct the jury on the less-included offense of residential entry.

Kenneth Meer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A04-1204-CR-193
Criminal. Affirms convictions of rape, as a Class A felony, and criminal deviate conduct, as a Class A felony.

Miles A. Parker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
22A01-1204-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms 20-year aggregate sentence for convictions of three counts of burglary, each as a Class B felony, two counts of attempted burglary, each as a Class B felony, and one count of burglary as a Class C felony.
 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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