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Opinions Aug. 7, 2013

August 7, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Muncie, an Indiana Non-Profit Corporation v. Yonghong Cheng and Hongjun Niu, Husband and Wife, as parents of Matthew Cheng, deceased
18A02-1210-CT-791
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Westminster in regard to an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Reverses denial of summary judgment on wrongful death and invasion-of-privacy claims and remands with instructions to grant summary judgment in favor of Westminster. Finds although the church recommended the babysitter, in whose care Matthew Cheng died, it did not owe a duty to the Cheng family as a matter of law. Also, rules the church’s publicizing the death did not invade on the Chengs’ privacy because the church did not reap any commercial value from doing so.

Centurion Federal Credit Union v. Michael Trible (NFP)
82A01-1210-PL-482
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court award of damages to Trible. Finds the trial court did not err in its holdings or in computing damages and that Trible did not fail to mitigate damages.  

Dominique L. White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1212-CR-541
Criminal. Affirms sentence of 365 days after White pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class A misdemeanor.  

Dominique L. White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A05-1212-CR-651
Criminal. Affirms aggregate sentence of four years after White pleaded guilty to four counts of neglect of a dependent, each as a Class D felony; one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, as a Class D felony; and one count of driving while suspended, as a Class A misdemeanor.  

Dale R. Davidson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1302-CR-56
Criminal. Remands for clarification of the sentence imposed on Davidson. Agrees with the state that it is not possible to ascertain what sentence was imposed upon Davidson for his convictions of residential entry, a Class D felony; and three Class A misdemeanors of battery, invasion of privacy and interference with reporting of a crime.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of J.M., Minor child, and J.M. and Z.W. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
20A03-1301-JT-19
Juvenile. Affirms the involuntary termination of the parental rights of J.M. (mother) and Z.W. (father).

Carlos Ramos v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A02-1211-CR-949
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor. Finds the evidence presented was sufficient to establish that Ramos understood his right to a trial by jury but preferred to proceed with a bench trial.  

John Jorman, Jr., v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A04-1203-PC-163
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Jorman’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Daniel Aguilar, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)

64A05-1212-CR-665
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class C felony child molesting. However, finds the trial court did not specify in the record the conditions of Aguilar’s probation, remands this case to the trial court so that it can specify in the record the terms of his probation.

Cody Steele v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A05-1301-CR-14
Criminal. Affirms two-year sentence for escape, as a Class D felony, which was enhanced by one and one-half years due to Steele’s status as a habitual offender.

Shirley Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A05-1301-CR-4
Criminal. Affirms conviction of battery as a Class A misdemeanor. Concludes that the incredible dubiosity rule is inapplicable and that Jones’s conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.

The Indiana Supreme Court and 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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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