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Opinions Dec. 20, 2013

December 20, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael E. Garcia v. Carolyn W. Colvin
13-2120
Civil. Reverses the Social Security Administration’s denial of disability benefits for Michael E. Garcia, finding that the denial was riddled with error and that the record shows Garcia is among the most seriously disabled applicants for disability the Circuit Court has encountered. Remands to the Social Security Administration for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Richard E. Simmons v. State of Indiana
55A01-1209-CR-444
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class A felony attempted murder, two counts of Class D felony criminal recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon and one count each of Class D felony unlawful use of body armor and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. There was ample evidence to convict Simmons of attempted murder, his jury was adequately instructed on the presumption he was innocent and his consecutive sentences were appropriate. Senior Judge Shepherd concurs in separate opinion.

Stephen Brakie v. State of Indiana
65A05-1304-CR-172
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting. There is sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by rejecting Brakie’s proposed jury instruction regarding the presumption of innocence.

In Re the Marriage of Melanie Davis and Angela Summers
53A01-1305-DR-221
Domestic relation. Reverses dismissal of Davis’ petition to dissolve her marriage with Summers. The parties’ marriage was not automatically voided when the trial court granted Davis’ petition to change her name and birth certificate and be identified as a female instead of a male. Remands for further proceedings.

Ronald Gaines v. State of Indiana
49A04-1303-CR-123
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy. Concludes that the return of service was not testimonial, and its admission did not violate Gaines’s rights under the Confrontation Clause.

Michael E. Zanussi v. State of Indiana
29A05-1304-CR-173
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal recklessness. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Zanussi’s continuance nor in admitting letters Zanussi wrote from jail.

Shubham Chopra v. Shena Pendyala (NFP)
03A01-1305-SC-191
Small claim. Affirms judgment in favor of Pendyala on Chopra’s action seeking damages for the diminished value of Chopra’s car following a collision with the car driven by Pendyala.

James Mira v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1305-CR-245
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Marcus R. Carter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1304-CR-126
Criminal. Affirms eight-year sentence for Class C felony forgery.

Usman Alim Khan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1306-CR-470
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for alternative misdemeanor sentencing.

Timothy G. White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
09A04-1203-CR-140
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for jail time credit.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.T., Minor Child, T.T., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
57A03-1304-JT-150
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Eugene L. Small v. Brandi L. Foster (NFP)
34A04-1306-JP-274
Juvenile. Affirms denial of father’s petition to modify custody.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Q.M. and E.M., Minor Children, B.M., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
15A04-1303-JT-142
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Hervey Clanton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1304-CR-194
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for two counts of Class A felony dealing cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex, one count of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and three counts of Class C felony neglect of a dependent.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.

 

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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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