Opinions Dec. 19, 2013

December 19, 2013
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
USA v. Roger Loughry
Criminal. Affirms Loughry’s conviction on 16 child-pornography charges after a second trial. Loughry was convicted on the same 16 counts previously, but the 7th Circuit reversed because evidence of “hardcore” pornography that was admitted at the first trial was ruled an abuse of discretion. On appeal of his conviction after the second trial, the 7th Circuit rejected Loughry’s claim that providing jurors during deliberations with images and videos that were admitted into evidence was highly prejudicial.

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Tyrice J. Halliburton v. State of Indiana
Life without parole. Affirms murder conviction and sentence of life without parole. The trial court did not err in admitting certain evidence. Concludes the trial court committed no error, let alone fundamental error, by admitting photographs into evidence. Finds the court’s limiting instruction was erroneous, but Halliburton made no claim that the error was fundamental and no such fundamental error occurred.

Scott Speers v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the trial court did not err by admitting the DNA evidence over Speers’ Confrontation Clause objection. A lab technician involved in a chain of custody of DNA evidence does not have to testify in order to satisfy the demands of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Brittney Watson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction. Based on the evidence, the jury could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that Watson either knew or intended that the victim would be killed and acted in concert with Steven and Stephon Rice to accomplish the deed.

In the Matter of the Estate of Stephen T. Hannebaum, Deceased, Renada Fay Hannebaum v. Mary Rebecca Hannebaum and Stephen T. Hannebaum, II, as Personal Representatives of Stephen T. Hannebaum
Estate. Affirms order finding Renada Hannebaum had forfeited her right to inherit from Stephen Hannebaum’s estate. The pieces of evidence, taken together, suggest a continuing behavior that is sufficient to sustain the trial court’s finding of an adulterous relationship between Renada and Doug Wilson in April 2011. The trial court properly found Renada left Stephen permanently rather than temporarily.
William Hinesley, III v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief from conviction of Class A felony child molesting. The post-conviction court properly determined that Hinesley failed to demonstrate that his counsel’s performance was deficient or prejudicial and his claim of prosecutorial misconduct is unavailable.

Meridian Mutual Insurance Company, n/k/a State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company v. Majestic Block & Supply, Inc., n/k/a Tutewiler Corporation
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Majestic Block & Supply. Majestic’s coverage was not barred by late notice or known loss, it did not benefit from a double recovery and it was entitled to prejudgment interest. However, State Auto’s arguments are not so frivolous, unreasonable or groundless as to require an award of attorney fees to Majestic.

Dana Companies, LLC v. Chaffee Rentals, a/k/a, Chaffee Rentals and Storage, BRC Rubber Group, Inc., Charles V. Chaffee, Karen J. Chaffee and Clifford Chaffee
Civil collections. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. Affirms the trial court rulings that in a contract dispute over industrial pollution cleanup costs that the doctrine of fortuity did not apply in Dana’s complaint against BRC. Dana is entitled to collect damages from BCR, which rented the industrial site Dana formerly owned, but only for the non-PCB contamination caused solely by BRC’s use. Remands to the trial court with orders to reduce the total awards, including prejudgment interest, from $154,632 to $7,383.

Edwin Rwoti v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony sexual battery.

Raphael Miles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence.

Maxwell Swisher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

In the Matter of: J.C. and A.M.C. (Minor Children), Children in Need of Services, and A.K.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms J.C.’s designation as a child in need of services but vacates with respect to A.M.C.

T. Kyle Buehner v. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union (NFP)
Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of the credit union, finding it had authority to seize funds in Buehner’s savings account to satisfy his father’s debt.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: D.W., Minor Child, G.W., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Jeffrey O. Gilstrap v. Michael D. Mount (NFP)
Small claim. Affirms denial of Gilstrap’s motion for relief from judgment.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.