Opinions Nov. 5, 2013

November 5, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Wilson v. Kelly (Wilson) Myers
Domestic relation. Reverses modification of custody. Finds an abuse of discretion in the way this modification was carried out and ordered as it never mentioned whether the modification was in the best interest of the children or noted any substantial change in any of the factors enumerated in I.C. 31-17-2-8. Orders an evidentiary hearing and inquiry into in-camera interviews. Since the two children have already been pulled from their Indiana school system and are attending school in Michigan, this status quo should continue until further order of the court as to minimize further disruption to the kids.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Heather Herren v. Jerry Dishman
Small claims. Affirms an order of replevin returning custody of a dog to Jerry Dishman, after Heather Herren obtained an out-of-state protective order granting her custody and control of any animal owned, possessed, kept or held as a pet by either party. The small claims court erred in refusing to accord full faith and credit to the North Carolina protective order, but because Herren neither owned nor possessed the dog at the time the protective order was issued, she was not entitled to custody.

Andrew Wann v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms order requiring Andrew Wann to serve 90 days of a suspended 365-day sentence for conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana after a probationary urinalysis tested positive. The panel rejected Wann’s arguments that the urinalysis report was admitted in violation of his due process rights and that the court imposed a sentence that contravened statutory authority because time served or credited in jail or on probation exceeded 365 days.

Ritchie Hodges v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses trial court order dismissing a claim for post-conviction relief from the revocation of a conditional release to placement in community corrections. The court held that a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at a hearing to revoke placement is a claim that conditional release was unlawfully revoked, and therefore subject to a claim under Post-Conviction Rule 1(1)(a)(5).

State of Indiana v. William Gilbert
Criminal. Reverses suppression of evidence in a drunken-driving case in which a motorist was taken to a roll-call station where a breath test was administered. Police had probable cause to seize Gilbert after he allegedly ran a stop sign and police smelled alcohol and observed him stumble as he exited his vehicle. His rights under the Fourth Amendment therefore were not violated, the panel ruled.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.L. & D.L. (Minor Children) and K.M., (Mother) & D.L.,(Father) v, The Indiana Department of Child Services
Termination of parental rights. Affirms trial court termination order for mother and father, concluding there is clear and convincing evidence to support the trial court’s findings and the court’s ultimate determination that there is a reasonable probability that the conditions that resulted in the children’s removal or the reasons for placement outside the home will not be remedied.

D.B., et al., v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Department of Workforce Development, and Anderson Transit System, Inc.
Civil. Affirms review board’s denial of school bus drivers’ application for unemployment compensation. Rules the board did not interpret the vacation provisions of Indiana Code Section 22-4-3-5, enacted in 2011 and 2012, too broadly. Presumes since the Legislature has held that mandatory vacation or shutdown period does not entitle employees to unemployment compensation, General Assembly did not  intend to change the common law beyond what its enactments and fair implications allow.  

Anthony E. Boyd v. WHTIV, Inc. and Walter Tarr, IV
Civil plenary. Reverses both the trial court’s denial of Boyd’s motion to correct error and its grant of summary judgment in favor of WHTIV and Tarr. Holds even though Boyd took 33 days to respond to WHTIV’s and Tarr’s motion for summary judgment, Trial Rule 6(E) allows for the extra time because the motion was delivered by mail. Also, since Boyd was denied additional time to complete discovery, the grant of summary judgment was premature.  

Dawn Willsey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 16-year aggregate sentence following guilty plea to two counts of burglary, Class B felonies.

James W. Avery v. Cynthia L. (Avery) Howe (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s dissolution decree awarding 60 percent of the marital estate to James Avery and 40 percent  to Cynthia (Avery) Howe.

A.C. James, Jr., v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder and criminal recklessness, a Class D felony.

Brandon Titus v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses denial of Titus’s petition for modification of convictions and remands to the trial court for further action consistent with this opinion. Holds the trial court’s discretion was limited to determining if Titus had complied with the terms of the plea agreement. Therefore, the court abused its discretion when it considered whether Titus would or could pursue a career in law enforcement.  

Eric Powell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Finds police officer’s request for Powell’s identification and search for outstanding arrest warrants were reasonable under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

The Indiana Tax Court did not submit any opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals did not submit any Indiana opinions by IL deadline.


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  1. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well