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Opinions Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thursday
United States of America v. Fairly W. Earls
11-3347
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of making a false statement on a passport application, aggravated identity theft and knowingly transferring a stolen identification document. Affirms the admission of certain evidence at Earls’ trial and finds the District Court did not err in its calculation of his offense level.

Wednesday
Douglas Richards, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board and United Steel, et al.
12-1973, 12-1984
On petitions for review of decisions and orders of the National Labor Relations Board. Dismisses the petitions for review because the petitioners no longer suffer an injury-in-fact and do not satisfy the statutory “aggrieved” requirement.


Indiana Court of Appeals
Thursday

Medea Woods v. State of Indiana
39A05-1204-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms denial of Woods’ partial motion to dismiss. Finds the state has alleged sufficient facts when the charging information and probable cause affidavit are considered together.

Slavojka Pistalo v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and The Estate of Iris M. Wilks, Deceased
45A04-1204-PL-214
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Progressive on Pistalo’s direct action against the company seeking a $333,600 excess judgment, which included post-judgment interest. Finds summary judgment was inappropriate because the issue of whether Progressive acted in bad faith has not been established in the designated materials as a matter of law. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Rail Road Company v. John Blaine Davidson, Admin. of the Estate of Carolyn Davidson, Deceased, and Tonya Kincaid, as Mother and Next Friend of Cierra Kincaid, a Minor
84A01-1202-CT-81
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of John Blaine Davidson and Tonya Kincaid with respect to Indiana Rail Road’s claim that their cause is preempted by federal law. The trial court properly denied the railroad’s motion for partial summary judgment, concluding that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether federal preemption precludes the appellees’ claims with respect to the adequacy of traffic warning devices.

John T. Brightwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1205-CR-218
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence and remands for correction.

Eric D. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1206-CR-460
Criminal. Denies Smith’s motion for leave to file an appeal and dismisses it with prejudice.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of R.D. (Minor Child), and M.D. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
79A02-1205-JT-394
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Todd Fuller v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1205-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms 3-year sentence for Class D felony domestic battery in the presence of a child and Class A misdemeanor interference with the reporting of a crime.

Michael Craig v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1205-CR-395
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary, Class D felony theft and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Lee E. Davis, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1205-CR-241
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Kent A. Easley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1207-CR-333
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Donald and Jennie Walker v. Glenn Sermersheim (NFP)
29A02-1204-CC-338
Civil collections. Affirms order awarding the Walkers’ former attorney $14,800. Denies Sermersheims’ request for attorney fees.

Mark A. Guffey v. Deborah L. Guffey (NFP)
36A01-1204-DR-171
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of father’s request to modify custody and the trial court’s modification of his parenting time and child support obligation, and the finding that he owed a child support arrearage.

David Darst v. Indiana Dept. of Correction and Bruce Lemmon in his official capacity as Commissioner (NFP)
46A03-1206-CT-288
Civil tort. Reverses dismissal of Darst’s claims against the DOC, but affirms dismissal of his claim against Lemmon.

Robert J. Pearson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A04-1204-CR-221
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Elbert M. Jones, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1204-CR-216
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Mark Allen Pratt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
76A04-1205-CR-268
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting.

Wednesday
Leslee Orndorff v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, R. Scott Waddell, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
53A04-1206-PL-299
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Orndorff’s request for a preliminary injunction on suspending her license and remands for further proceedings. Finds she has a reasonable likelihood of succeeding on the merits of her laches defense and has carried her burden to establish the other requirements for a preliminary injunction.

Lisa A. Birkhimer v. Neil S. Birkhimer
29A02-1111-DR-1058
Domestic relation. Finds the following issues require remand to the trial court: the trial court did not include Lisa’s debt to her father in the marital estate; the court allowed Lisa to deduct certain expenses from her income for child support purposes, but did not make findings supporting these deviations from the Child Support Guidelines; and the parties both agree that because Lisa is responsible for paying the children’s controlled expenses, the parenting time credit should be applied to Neil. Affirms in all other respects and remands with instructions.

Sharif Fields v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1205-PC-249
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Billy Adams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1205-CR-422
Criminal.  Affirms convictions of Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony domestic battery.

Robert D. Ratcliff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A05-1205-CR-248
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class C felony burglary and Class D felony auto theft.

In Re the Paternity of C.C.M.: M.M. v. V.K.H. (NFP)
64A03-1205-JP-230
Juvenile. Reverses parenting time order and remands for a redetermination of that issue in accordance with the opinion. Affirms trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to hold mother in contempt and order father pay a portion of mother’s attorney fees.

In Re the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.R.: D.R. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
18A02-1202-JT-104
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Christopher White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1203-PC-102
Post conviction. Affirms conviction of Class C felony fraud on a financial institution and denial of White’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Allen Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1204-CR-188
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony attempted rape and Class A misdemeanor battery.

Jonathon P. Grigsby v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1205-CR-238
Criminal. Affirms reinstatement of previously suspended sentence following revocation of Grigsby’s probation.

Karl Kapanke, Universal Am-Can, Ltd., and M.C. Schmitt Trucking, Inc. v. James Stovall and Tracy Stovall (NFP)
45A03-1201-CT-12
Civil tort. Affirms judgment for the Stovalls on their claims of negligence and loss of consortium following a jury trial.

Jeffrey Adams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1205-CR-385
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and execution of the remainder of Adams’ suspended sentence.
 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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