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Indiana court decisions - Sept. 4 - 17, 2013

September 25, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Sept. 6

Civil – Personal Injury/Employment

Scott Weigle and April Weigle v. SPX Corp.

12-3024, and John Moore, II and Corinne Moore v. SPX Corp.

12-3025

Complaints for damages from two mechanics who were injured by a semi trailer they were working on were partially reinstated by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. John Moore and Scott Weigle were hurt when a semi truck trailer fell on them from a support stand manufactured by SPX Corp. They sued under the Indiana Product Liability Act, claiming deficient design and inadequate warnings on the supports.

Judge Larry McKinney of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted summary judgment in favor of SPX on all claims, but the 7th Circuit reversed in part.

“We affirm the district court’s judgments on the inadequate warnings claims, but we vacate the judgments on the defective design claims and remand for further proceedings,” Circuit Judge John Tinder wrote for the court.

Tinder wrote that the District Court didn’t address the sufficiency of Weigle and Moore’s evidence on their defective design claim and should not have been disposed of through summary judgment.

“A reasonable fact finder could determine from Weigle’s and Moore’s designated evidence that the SPX support stands at issue were in a defective condition that was unreasonably dangerous. That the SPX support stands differ from most (if not all) others on the market ... tends to show that their design is not contemplated by reasonable persons among those considered expected users,” Tinder wrote, noting there also is some dispute as to whether the product meets accepted industry standards.

Sept. 9

Criminal – False Identification

United States of America v. Christopher Spears

11-1683

An Indiana man who supplied a fake identification that used the recipient’s real name may not be subjected to the federal aggravated identity theft statute, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a unanimous en banc decision.

At issue is whether the definition of “another person” in Section 1028A of the United States Code means anyone other than the defendant. The court warned against applying that standard; the prosecution advocated for a statute that carries an automatic two-year consecutive sentence.

“If the prosecutor is right, §1028A acquires a surprising scope,” Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for the panel.

“It would, for example, require a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence every time a tax-return preparer claims an improper deduction, because the return is transferred to the IRS, concerns a person other than the preparer, includes a means of identifying that person (a Social Security number), and facilitates fraud against the United States (which §1028A(c)(4) lists as a predicate crime),” Easterbrook wrote.

Lake County resident Christopher Spears made fake handgun carry permits, driver’s licenses and other forms of ID. He was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, of producing false identification, five counts of unlawful possession of false identification documents and aggravated identify theft.

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit previously vacated some of those convictions but affirmed the aggravated identity theft and producing false ID convictions. Spears was sentenced to 34 months in prison, plus the two-year mandatory sentence under the ID theft conviction.

The en banc decision affirmed the prior 7th Circuit decision except for the conviction and sentence for ID theft.

“Crimes are supposed to be defined by the legislature, not by clever prosecutors riffing on equivocal language. A reasonable person reading §1028A(a)(1) would not conclude that Congress has definitely used the word “another” to specify every person other than the defendant, as opposed to a person whose information has been misappropriated,” Easterbrook wrote.

“Section 1028A, we hold, uses ‘another person’ to refer to a person who did not consent to the use of the ‘means of identification’. This decision, in conjunction with the panel’s disposition of the convictions under statutes other than §1028A, mean that two of Spears’s convictions have been reversed, while three remain. The district court’s judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded for resentencing on those three convictions.”

Sept. 11

Civil – Class Action/Certification

David Hughes v. Kore of Indiana Enterprise Inc., et al.

13-8018

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t exactly call an Indiana appeal a small-change case, but it suggested the few dollars each member of a class might receive could be more usefully given to charity.

David Hughes is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit over automated teller machines in two Indianapolis bars that he alleged failed to comply with a now-repealed federal law that required ATMs to carry a disclosure of fees both onscreen and on a sticker affixed to the machine. The sticker is no longer required, and the machines he used carried the onscreen disclosure of a $3 transaction fee.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson decertified the class in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and Hughes appealed, winning a reversal that at most could win for the class $10,000 under penalties for violation of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693b(d)(3). There are at least 2,700 people in the class.

In reversing the District Court, Circuit Judge Richard Posner concluded for the panel, “We hold only that the judge’s opinion decertifying the class does not provide adequate grounds for her ruling. There may be such grounds. And our extended discussion of how to distribute damages was not meant to imply that Kore must be liable in this case. For all we know, it has good defenses.”

But Posner wrote that the prospect of thousands of plaintiffs getting perhaps $3 raises questions about the process and remedies. “Since distribution of damages to the class members would provide no meaningful relief, the best solution may be what is called (with some imprecision) a ‘cy pres’ decree. Such a decree awards to a charity the money that would otherwise go to the members of the class as damages, if distribution to the class members is infeasible.

“A foundation that receives $10,000 can use the money to do something to minimize violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act; as a practical matter, class members each given $3.57 cannot,” the court reasoned.

Kore, which owned and operated ATMs in bars including Average Joe’s in Broad Ripple and another establishment the court described as “said to be popular with college students” did not file a brief on appeal to the 7th Circuit, the opinion noted, and the court opined that perhaps that meant the defendants favored class status against the potential risk of individual suits.

But Posner mused that didn’t seem likely, noting no apparent individual claims had been filed. “Although one reason for the paucity of litigation may be unfamiliarity with the law, another may be the difficulty of finding a lawyer willing to handle an individual suit in which the stakes are $100 or an improbable maximum of $1000,” he wrote.

Indiana Supreme Court

Sept. 12

Civil Plenary – Transfer/Language Clarification

Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Board of Commissioners of Clark County, Indiana v. Dennis Dreyer and Margo Dreyer, as Co-Personal Reps. of the Estate of Margaret A. Dreyer

10S01-1308-PL-529

Confusion from “inartful language” will put the ongoing dispute over the Clark County airport expansion before the Indiana Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court granted transfer.

In this case of eminent domain, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of the property owners. The Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners appealed, arguing the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction as predicated in the language of State v. Universal Outdoor, Inc., 880 N.E.2d 1188, 1190 (Ind. 2008).

The COA rejected the board’s argument. It pointed out the passage from Universal Outdoor is “misleading.” If statutory procedures are not followed, the trial court could be prohibited from hearing the issue of damages not because it lost jurisdiction but because legal error was committed.

Writing for the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Brent Dickson acknowledged the Court of Appeals was correct. When deciding Universal Outdoor, the Supreme Court should have stated failure to file a timely exemption bars a property owner from challenging the filed report.

Post Conviction – Double Jeopardy

Andrew McWhorter v. State of Indiana

33S01-1301-PC-7

Although a man’s conviction was overturned, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled he can still be retried on the same charge without violating double jeopardy prohibitions because “a rational jury” would have considered more than one element of the crime.

Andrew McWhorter was charged with murder following the shooting death of his girlfriend. At trial, the court also instructed the jury on voluntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.

The jury found McWhorter not guilty of murder but guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

McWhorter filed a post-conviction relief petition, contending the jury instruction was flawed since both murder and voluntary manslaughter contain the element that the defendant knowingly killed another person. He argued the court permitted the jury to re-deliberate the elements of murder when considering voluntary manslaughter even though it had already acquitted him of the higher charge.

The post-conviction court denied McWhorter’s petition. McWhorter appealed and the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the post-conviction court. However, when it remanded the case, it included the instructions that McWhorter may be retried on the charge of reckless homicide but not on a charge of voluntary manslaughter.

The state appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the COA’s restriction on the charge with which McWhorter can be retried.

Based on the arguments McWhorter presented in his post-conviction relief petition, he asserted that retrying him on voluntary manslaughter would be double jeopardy.

He pointed out both the definition of murder and voluntary manslaughter share the same element that the defendant “knowingly killed” the victim. By finding him not guilty of murder, the jury has already determined he did not knowingly kill his girlfriend and, therefore the state should not be allowed another opportunity to present the issue.

The Supreme Court found no prohibition on retrying for reckless homicide or voluntary manslaughter. It noted other elements are included in the definitions of the two charges so “knowingly killed” was not the only single rationally conceivable issue in dispute before the jury.

 “…we conclude that a rational jury could have based McWhorter’s acquittal on an issue other than whether he acted knowingly,” Justice Robert Rucker wrote for the court. “Particularly given the presence of an instruction on voluntary manslaughter (flawed though it may have been), it is certainly conceivable that a rational jury could have determined that McWhorter acted knowingly but did so under mitigating circumstances.”

Indiana Tax Court

Sept. 17

Premiums Tax – Remand

United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue

49T10-0704-TA-24

United Parcel Service and its reinsurance affiliates are obligated to pay about $650,000 in taxes from the years 2000 and 2001, the Indiana Tax Court held. The court previously ruled in UPS’s favor, but this opinion comes on remand from an Indiana Supreme Court reversal.

Senior Judge Thomas G. Fisher granted summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of Revenue, a reversal of the court’s order in 2010 granting summary judgment in favor of UPS and its reinsurance affiliates UPINSCO and UPS Re.

Indiana statutes governing the insurance premium tax for “foreign” insurers are clear, Fisher wrote, and UPS and its entities were not entitled to an exception for doing business in the state.

“Indeed, nearly a century ago, the Indiana Court of Appeals explained that the predecessor to Indiana Code § 27-1-18-2 was a graduated privilege tax, designed to raise revenue and “imposed upon a foreign [insurance or reinsurance] corporation for the privilege of exercising its corporate franchises and carrying on business in a corporate capacity within the state,” Fisher wrote.

“Moreover, Indiana Code § 6-3-2-2.8(4) merely exempts foreign reinsurance corporations that conduct business within Indiana from the corporate income tax because they are ‘subject to’ the premiums tax under Indiana Code § 27-1-18-2. See I.C. § 6-3-2-2.8(4). These statutes, therefore, plainly concern the regulation and taxation of insurance and are immune from Commerce Clause challenges,” Fisher wrote.  

Indiana Court of Appeals

Sept. 10

Post conviction – Murder/Ineffective Assistance

Jerome Binkley v. State of Indiana

84A05-1208-PC-441

A man convicted of murder who represented himself in his post-conviction relief proceeding was wrongly denied a chance to plead his case, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The court reversed an order by Vigo Superior Judge Christopher Newton summarily denying the petition.

The Indiana Supreme Court in 1995 affirmed Jerome Binkley’s conviction that came after two mistrials for the 1991 murder of Wayne Kemp in Terre Haute, even though the justices conceded no physical evidence connected Binkley to the crime. Binkley was sentenced to 60 years for murder enhanced by a 30-year term for being a habitual offender.

Binkley raised a claim of insufficient counsel in his PCR petition, arguing that his attorney failed to preserve objections to the testimony of witness Bill Loveland, and “that the knowing use of perjured testimony is fundamentally unfair.” A panel of the Court of Appeals ruled the PCR court erred when it summarily denied the petition.

“Ineffective assistance is a separate and distinct inquiry from whether there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction. This is partly why an ineffective assistance claim is available for post-conviction relief, even when the issue is available and not raised on direct appeal,” Pyle wrote.

“Because Binkley has pled sufficient facts to raise an issue of possible merit, we find that the trial court erred in summarily denying Binkley’s PCR petition. As a result, we remand for further proceedings on Binkley’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim and direct the post-conviction court to issue findings of fact and conclusions of law consistent with Post-Conviction Rule 1(6).”

Domestic Relation – Visitation/Child Molestation

Myron Jay Rickman v. Sheila Rena Rickman

27A02-1211-DR-950

Serving 50 years in prison for conviction of eight counts of Class A felony child molesting, a count of Class C felony child molesting and Class C felony criminal confinement is insufficient by itself for a court to rule an incarcerated father may not have phone or mail contact with his child, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Myron Jay Rickman filed a pro se appeal of Grant Circuit Judge Mark Spitzer’s denial of a petition for modification of visitation and denial of his motion to correct error, and won at least a procedural victory. The appellate panel sent the matter back to the trial court and ordered the judge to issue findings of facts on the ruling or grant a hearing.

The Court of Appeals opinion notes that Rickman was convicted for offenses that did not involve his child. Rickman asked the appeals court to instruct the trial court to conduct an in camera interview with his son, now 16, to determine his desire to have communication with his father.

The panel didn’t do that, but it did reverse the court’s denial in some measure because the child’s mother, Sheila Rena Rickman, did not file an appellate brief.

Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the court that a chronological case summary entry in the matter stated only that Rickman’s petition was denied without hearing and that Rickman was incarcerated on child molesting charges.

“That statement is factual and does not constitute a sufficient written explanation indicating why the petition was denied or whether it was denied pursuant to Ind. Code § 31-17-4-2, or whether the court considered the Parenting Time Guidelines,” Brown wrote for the panel.

“In either event, a factual basis and a finding as to potential endangerment of (the son’s) physical health or safety or significant impairment of his emotional development are necessary. If on remand, the trial court determines the Guidelines to be applicable, it must then proffer an explanation for its departure from the Guidelines. Thus, the trial court must reflect upon the best interests of the child and the possible consequences of its departure from the provisions of Indiana Parenting Time Guideline I(A). Doing so would enable us to thoroughly and appropriately review the trial court’s deviation and the reasons behind it,” Brown wrote.

Criminal – Expungement

H.M. v. State of Indiana

49A04-1304-CR-157

A man’s good luck at never being charged with a crime despite four arrests turned bad when he tried to get his record expunged.

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of H.M.’s four petitions to restrict the disclosure of his arrest records, finding he was not eligible for expungement under the former expungement law.

H.M. was arrested multiple times between December 1993 and January 2002 for a variety of incidents including battery, public intoxication, criminal trespass, theft and receiving stolen property. Each time, the state did not file charges.

In February 2013, he filed petitions to restrict the disclosure of his four arrest records. His request was considered under the state’s old expungement statute contained in Indiana Code 35-38-5-5.5.

The Court of Appeals noted the former law applies in this case because H.M. filed his petitions and the trial court summarily denied the petitions before Indiana’s new expungement law was enacted on July 1, 2013.

Agreeing with H.M. that “charge” and “to charge” are not defined in the state’s criminal statutes, the Court of Appeals found guidance in I.C. 35-33-1-1 and Epperson v. State 530, N.E.2d 743, 746 (Ind. Ct. App. 1988) which hold that criminal prosecution can start only with the filing of an information or indictment.

Since prosecuting attorneys never filed charges after H.M. was arrested, H.M. was not “charged,” the COA concluded. Therefore, he is not eligible to restrict the disclosure of his arrest records.

Sept. 12

Domestic Relation – Divorce/Student Loans

John Luttrell v. Melinda Luttrell

49A02-1301-DR-85

Student loan liabilities of parents who co-signed for their two children should have been a consideration in dividing property in a divorce proceeding, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The panel affirmed in other respects the ruling from the court of Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer, but remanded John Luttrell v. Melinda Luttrell, 49A02-1301-DR-85, to consider the student loans.

“While there is little relevant Indiana case law regarding disposition of contingent liability in divorce proceedings, we believe the loans should have been considered by the trial court,” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote for the panel that included Judges James Kirsch and Patricia Riley.

The court cited In re Marriage of Lay, 512 N.E.2d 1120, 1123-24 (Ind. Ct. App. 1987) that established the court may not divide assets or liabilities that don’t exist, but said that should not be the case for liabilities in which the parents have guaranteed payment in the event of a default.

“While it is possible that neither John nor Melinda will be called upon to make good on their promise to repay the loans, at the same time, their names cannot be removed from the loans,” Robb wrote. “If one of the children defaults, the co-signers will be liable on the debt. We remand to the trial court for consideration of the Luttrells’ liability under the children’s student loans.”

Sept. 13

Criminal – Ponzi Scheme

Jerry A. Smith v. State of Indiana

15A05-1208-CR-411

Jerry A. Smith v. State of Indiana

24A01-1210-CR-469

A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a man at the center of an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 72 victims in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will have to face state charges even though he pleaded guilty to a federal indictment.

The Court of Appeals issued its rulings in a pair of cases from two different counties that involved the same defendant and the same crime.

In Jerry A. Smith v. State of Indiana, 24A01-1210-CR-469, from Franklin Circuit Court, and Jerry A. Smith v. State of Indiana, 15A05-1208-CR-411, from Dearborn Superior Court, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

While the appellate judges threw out a number of state charges because they constituted a double-jeopardy violation with the federal plea, the COA held that other state charges specific to Indiana statute could stand.

Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented with the majority’s decision, arguing it violates double jeopardy. She wrote the “hypothetical reasoning” of the majority ignores the directive of previous decisions. Specifically, she pointed to State v. Allen, 646 N.E.2d 965, 968 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995) which held that a conviction in any other jurisdiction barred a later prosecution in Indiana for the same conduct.

Smith along with Jasen Snelling are alleged to have run a Ponzi scheme from CityFund Advisory and Dunhill Investment Advisors Ltd. The pair told victims they were involved in day trading, were licensed to sell securities and could garner an unusually high returns on investment.

However, according to the federal indictment, they were not licensed to sell securities nor were the firms licensed brokerages. Smith and Snelling never invested their clients’ money but rather used the funds to enrich themselves.

Together, victims of this investment scheme lost more than $8.9 million.

On June 12, 2012, Smith pleaded guilty to federal charges, acknowledging the ploy.

Franklin and Dearborn counties filed their own charges against Smith related to the financial fraud. Smith filed a motion to dismiss all state charges, asserting they were barred by double-jeopardy principles.

In throwing out several state charges, the Court of Appeals agreed with Smith that they arose from the same conduct that was included on Smith’s federal conviction. But the few charges related to Smith not being a registered broker-dealer with the Indiana Secretary of State were related to separate conduct.

“There is not overlap between the failing to register counts in this proceeding and Smith’s federal conviction,” Judge James Kirsch wrote for the majority. “On the one hand, had Smith been registered as a broker-dealer, he would still have faced the federal prosecution for his fraudulent acts. On the other, had Smith sold legitimate securities, he would have still have faced prosecution in this proceeding for his failure to register as a broker-dealer.”

Miscellaneous – Mechanic’s Lien

Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber & Hardware; and Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center, Inc. v. Chi-Tec Construction & Remodeling, Inc.; John F. Ziola, Jr.; Et Al.

46A03-1301-MI-18

A trust that won summary judgment at the trial court against a supplier of building materials for construction of a home on Lake Michigan got the opposite result from an appeals court. The trust is liable, even though it paid builders who failed to reimburse the supplier for materials provided on credit.

A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment granted by LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Koethe in favor of the Margaret Lynn West trust. The panel remanded with an order to grant summary judgment for the company that supplied material.

At issue is a mechanic’s lien Von Tobel recorded on the property that it sought to foreclose for nonpayment. The trial court ruled the lien was invalid because it designated “the wrong claimant” in the pre-lien notice.

“The Trust received the Pre-lien Notice from ‘Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center, Inc.’ and the Lien Notice from ‘Von Tobel Corporation,’” Judge James Kirsch wrote for the unanimous panel that also included Judge Patricia Riley and Chief Judge Margret Robb.

“The Trust does not contend that it was misled or confused by the discrepancy,” Kirsch wrote, noting the difference in names was minimal, didn’t undermine statutory policy regarding notice, and did not cause prejudice to the property owner or any third party. Indeed, the panel held that notice regarding the lien could have been used to assure “the party may take measures and direct funds accordingly.”

The trust paid homebuilder Chi-Tech Construction and its owner John Ziola, but the opinion says those payments weren’t forwarded to Von Tobel. Chi-Tech and Ziola since have declared bankruptcy, according to the court.

“Here, the property owner had notice of the potential lien early in the construction process, but failed to take appropriate measures to see that funds were properly directed. We reverse the summary judgment entered in favor of the trust and remand with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of Von Tobel Corporation.”

Sept. 17

Civil Tort – Government Immunity

Bartholomew County and Bartholomew County Commissioners v. Doug Johnson and Lucretia Johnson v. C & H/M Excavating and Construction, Inc., and Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD.

03A01-1212-CT-578

The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed conflicting caselaw about a government’s immunity from liability before siding with the older precedent and ruling that any move to overturn that case should be left to the Indiana Supreme Court.  

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found the county was immune from the Johnsons’ complaint.

The complaint arose after the Johnsons’ home and outbuildings were flooded. They blamed the new bridge the county had built near their property. Their complaint alleged the county had negligently designed, constructed, maintained and operated the bridge which caused the flooding.

Bartholomew County responded by filing for summary judgment. It argued it had immunity from liability for the acts of contractor, C&H/M Excavating, Inc., and designer, Christopher Burke Engineering, Ltd., pursuant to Indiana Code Section 34-13-3-3(10). To support its argument, the county cited Hinshaw v. Board of Commissioners of Jay County, 611 N.E.2d 637 (Ind. 1993).

The Johnsons countered that the county had a non-delegable common law and statutory duty to design, construct and maintain the bridge, and that it cannot avoid liability. They relied on Shand Mining, Inc. v. Clay County Board of Commissioners, 671 N.E. 2d 477 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996), trans. denied (1997) and City of Vincennes v. Reuhl 672 N.E.2d 495 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996), trans. denied (1997).

At trial, the lower court agreed with the Johnsons that the county is not immune from liability regarding the construction of its bridges.

The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding the trial court erred in not finding the county had immunity from liability for any of the designer’s acts or omissions. It cited Hinshaw as clearly holding that Indiana Code Section 34-13-3-3(10) grants immunity to a governmental entity in situations where an independent contractor was performing a delegable duty.

“Indiana Code Section 34-13-3-3(10) would be useless in situations involving an independent contractor if it did not apply to non-delegable duties and we ‘presume that the legislature did not enact a useless provision,’” Judge Terry Crone wrote for the court.

“To the extent that Shand Mining and Reuhl conflict with Hinshaw on this point, we respectfully disagree with those cases. If Hinshaw is to be abrogated, it should be done by our supreme court.”

The Court of Appeals noted the county’s summary judgment motion was directed only toward the negligence of third parties and the negligent design and construction. Consequently, it remanded for further proceedings as to the county’s allegedly negligent maintenance and operation of the bridge.

Criminal – Sentence/Home Detention

Nathan K. Barker v. State of Indiana

73A01-1212-CR-575

The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case for a new sentencing order after a defendant successfully argued home detention counts as part of his executed sentence.

Following the death of a 22-month-old baby in his care, Nathan Barker pleaded guilty to Class A felony neglect of a dependent causing death. In exchange, Barker received a 40-year cap on his executed sentence.

At the sentencing hearing, the court sentenced Barker to 45 years, with 40 years executed and the balance suspended to probation, of which 120 days were to be served on home detention.

Barker appealed his sentence, arguing the 120 days of home detention exceeded the plea agreement’s cap of 40 years.

He pointed to Indiana Code 35-38-2.5-5(e) that allows for an individual confined to home detention to earn credit for time served. Although the sentencing court made the home detention part of his probation, he asserted it must be considered executed time since he can earn credit.

In its review of the matter, the Court of Appeals started by noting, “To say that the case law has been murky on the issue of credit time for home detainees would be an understatement.”

It found Antcliff v. State, 688 N.E.2d 166, 168 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997) to be the most procedurally similar even though the lower court concluded Antcliff’s home detention did not amount to executed time. However, in 2001, the Legislature amended IC 35-38-2.5-5 by adding subsection (e) that specifically entitled a detainee to earn credit for time served while on home detention.

“Whether home detention is imposed via a direct placement in a community corrections program or as a condition of probation, its accompanying statutory requirement that the detainee received credit time militates toward counting it as part of the executed portion of his sentence,” Judge Terry Crone wrote in Nathan K. Barker v. State of Indiana, 73A01-1212-CR-575.•
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  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  5. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

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