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Opinions Sept. 30, 2013

September 30, 2013
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Opinions, Sept. 30, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Archer v. State of Indiana

49A05-1209-CR-448
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of child molestation, rejecting arguments that the trial court’s statement about the victim’s competency was an impermissible vouching statement and that the court improperly allowed vouching statements by multiple witnesses. The court’s denial of Archer’s request to present evidence of the victim’s post-allegation demeanor also was proper, as were jury instructions and the effectiveness of Archer’s trial counsel.

Paul J. Livers II, v. State of Indiana
06A01-1303-CR-119
Criminal. Affirms convictions for battery causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor, and interference with reporting a crime, a Class C misdemeanor. Livers claims his counsel was ineffective because the attorney failed to file a motion for a jury trial in a timely manner. The COA finds the trial court record does not indicate that Livers wanted a jury trial prior to his trial counsel’s belated requested. Also rejects Livers’ argument that the testimony of the victim was incredibly dubious.

Joseph M. Guinn v. Applied Composites Engineering, Inc.
49A02-1303-CC-239
Civil. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Applied Composites Engineering Inc., and remands to the trial court for consideration of Joseph Guinn’s claim of tortious interference with a contract due to ACE’s enforcement of a non-compete clause that resulted in his termination from a subsequent employer. Summary judgment was improper because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether ACE’s conduct was justified, fair or reasonable under the circumstances.

Amy Palmer v. Margaret Sales and Unique Insurance Company
45A03-1302-SC-31
Small claims. Reverses denial of motion for change of judge and motion for jury trial and remands with instructions to grant change of judge, implement procedures for the selection of a new judge and transfer the case to the plenary docket, the majority holding that the question of timeliness of a change of judge request should be guided by the dissenting opinion in McClure v. Cooper, 893 N.E.2d 337 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008). Judge Mark Bailey, who wrote the McClure opinion, dissented in part, finding that the court shouldn’t reach McClure, which he acknowledged may have been wrongly decided, and that because Palmer acknowledged liability, proceedings on remand should be limited to the matter of damages.

William A. Asher v. Stephanie J. Coomler
49A04-1302-DR-71
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court modification of child support, holding that a magistrate was not within the class of judicial officers specified in Trial Rules for selection of a special judge and therefore could not have presided after appointment of a special judge. Remands to the trial court with instructions to permit the parties to select a successor special judge.

David M. Green v. State of Indiana
45A03-1210-PC-418
Post-conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief from his sentence of two consecutive 45-year sentences for his conviction of two counts of murder, concluding that a defense attorney’s failure to object to an anonymous jury was not ineffective assistance of counsel.

Tom Trisler d/b/a Canal House Antiques v. Clayton L. Carter
35A02-1302-SC-192
Small claim. Reverses the trial court’s order that Trisler reimburse Carter the purchase price for a chest of drawers. Rules when Carter bought the piece of furniture at the antiques store, he did not expect the business would remedy any defect. Consequently he has no legitimate reason to revoke his acceptance of the chest of drawers.

Gary Oswalt v. State of Indiana
35A02-1208-CR-684
Criminal. Affirms conviction and aggregate sentence of 84 years for two counts of child molesting as Class A felonies, child solicitation as a Class D felony, and five counts of possession of child pornography as Class D felonies. Rules Oswalt did not exhaust his peremptory challenges and therefore waived review of the trial court’s denial of his request to strike Juror No. 28 for cause. Finds the five charges for possession of child pornography fell within the statutory limitations period. Concludes that the evidence was sufficient to sustain Oswalt’s convictions for five counts of possession of child pornography and that Oswalt failed to demonstrate he was denied a fair trial due to the charges of possession of child pornography. Upholds the sentence as appropriate considering the nature of the offense and the character of Oswalt.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.C., R.C., and B.C., Minor Children and R.C., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
72A01-1301-JT-35
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of R.C.’s (father) parental rights to K.C., R.C. and B.C.

Joseph A. Taylor v. Dr. William H. Wolfe, in his Individual Capacity as an Employee of Corizon and Medical Director at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, Corizon, Inc., and Pharma Corr, (NFP)
48A05-1212-PL-638
Civil Plenary. Affirms dismissal of Taylor’s complaint against Wolfe, Corizon Inc. and Pharma Corr for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

In the Matter of; H.B., G.M., P.M., and A.C. (Minors), C.M. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services and Lake County Court Appointed Special Advocate (NFP)
45A03-1302-JT-62
Juvenile. Affirms order terminating C.M.’s (mother) parental rights to her minor children, H.B., G.M., P.M. and A.C.

Gerald W. Staton v. Dawn M. Dobyns-Gross, Indiana Family Social Services Administration, Tippecanoe County, Indiana and Tippecanoe County Prosecutor (NFP)
79A02-1305-CT-412
Civil Tort. Affirms denial of Staton’s motion to correct error and the dismissal of Staton’s complaint.

Mark Burkett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
09A04-1305-CR-262
Criminal. Affirms 20-year sentence for criminal confinement, a Class B felony.

Brandon Stewart v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1301-CR-6
Criminal. Affirms conviction for two counts child molesting, both Class A felonies, one count sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class B felony, one count child molesting, a Class C felony, and one count sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class C felony. Also affirms aggregate sentence of 46 years.
 
The Indiana Supreme Court and the Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.
 

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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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