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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
13-1385
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
20S00-1206-LW-560
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
55S01-1312-CR-841
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
71A03-1303-CR-91
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
81A05-1301-ES-17
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
55A05-1302-PC-80
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
49A05-1210-PL-533
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
92A03-1208-CC-358
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)
02A04-1304-CR-181
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony sexual battery.

Raphael Miles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1306-CR-295
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence.

Maxwell Swisher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
06A04-1304-CR-173
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)
29A04-1305-JC-216
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)
82A01-1302-CC-61
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)
49A02-1304-JT-333
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Jeffrey O. Gilstrap v. Michael D. Mount (NFP)
39A01-1303-SC-103
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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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