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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. 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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