Opinions May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Brian Scott Hartman v. State of Indiana 
Criminal. Reversed and remanded a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress Hartman’s confession. Found Hartman’s previous invocation of his Miranda rights was still in place when detectives questioned him days later because his earlier request for counsel was unproductive which likely increased the coercive pressure.  

Court of Appeals
Linda Huffman, Individually and as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Jerry Huffman, Deceased v. Dexter Axle Company & Evans Equipment Co.
Civil tort/wrongful death/estate. Reverses and remands trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Dexter Axle, holding that Jerry Huffman, a contracted truck driver who died after unsecured axles he was to deliver fell off a flatbed truck, was owed a duty of care by Dexter, which was closed for business at the time the accident happened.  

Christie Wilson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms court order finding Wilson in contempt, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion by so ruling after she pleaded the Fifth when asked about a defendant under a grant of immunity.

Kevin Speer v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. The court found no Fourth Amendment violations in a vehicle search and a search warrant that produced evidence leading to multiple drug convictions, but remanded to the court to vacate one of six convictions – Class D felony possession of two or more precursors used to manufacture methamphetamine – because evidence presented to obtain those convictions subjected Speer to double jeopardy.

Gary W. Moody v. Beverly Martin, Director of the Johnson Co. Public Library Dist.; The Board of Trustees of the Johnson Co. Public Library Dist.; Brian J. Deppe, et al. (NFP)

Civil plenary. Affirms trial court denial of Moody’s motion to correct errors and partial dismissal of lawsuit and remands to the trial court for a determination of the library’s reasonable expenses.

David Mark Frentz v. State of Indiana (NFP)  
Criminal. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief.

LaWanda White v. State of Indiana (NFP) 
Criminal. Reverses and remands to the trial court a restitution order that White pay $875.82 for expenses incurred in treating an arresting officer after her arrest for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The court failed to adequately inquire into her ability to pay restitution, the court held.

Penni Williams v. John Mark Williams (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms the post-dissolution court’s order denying Penni Williams’ cross-petition requesting the court to order the payment of college expenses.

Daniel Rodgers-Conwell, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation for Rodgers-Conwell’s failure to maintain good behavior.

Rhonda Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

McLynnerd Bond, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress a murder confession.

Charles R. Chulchian v. Rivoli Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., and Indianapolis Eastside Revitalization Corp. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court denial of motions to set aside judgment and rescind an agreed entry.

Jimmy Dale Edwards v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief.

Joshua Shay Morris v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: C.T. & N.T.; and J.T. and B.T. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile termination. Affirms termination of parental rights to C.T., B.T. and N.T.

Donte Carter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 72-year sentence for murder and Class C felony attempted robbery.

Brandon M. Ebeyer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony attempted burglary and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.
Thomas M. Slaats v. Sally E. Slaats (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms orders regarding father Thomas Slaats’ obligation to reimburse mother Sally Slaats for agreed extracurricular fees.

Dominick Irby v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony criminal recklessness.

Jason Davison v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting.

Alvino Pizano v. Gregory F. Zoeller, et al. (NFP)
Miscellaneous. Reverse and remands the state’s motion for summary disposition of Pizano’s petition for habeus corpus relief, holding a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Pizano met his burden to show he earned a bachelor’s degree during his incarceration.

The Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.


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  1. Mr Smith, while most reading these posts are too busy making money or cranking out what passes for justice in our legal-techocrat order,I have often attempted to resist your cynicism, well thought out cynicism I admit. Please know that I give up, I can resist your logic no more. From Locknarian Platonic Guardians, through the incorporation doctine, to substantive due process, to Roe, to the latest demands that all states redefine the foundational stone of all civilized social order, the history of America's fall from Grace is inscribed on the dockets of the judiciary. From the federal judges' apostasy of a kind that would have caused John Jay to recommend capital punishment, to the state judges' refusal to protect the sanctuary of the state constitutions, seeing in them merely a font from which to protect pornographers, those who scream "f*ck the police" and pemubras and emanations following the federal apostates, it has been the judiciary, by and large, that has brought the Experiment in Ordered Liberty to an end. The Founders had great and high hopes that they had designed the third branch to save the Republic from such a time as this ... rather the third branch has allowed itself to be used to drag the Republic into rat infested sewers from which no nation has ever returned. Save me from tomorrow:

  2. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  3. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  4. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  5. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied