Opinions April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Ronnie Jamel Rice v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s revised sentencing order of life in prison without parole. Rice argued the trial court erred in considering non-statutory aggravating circumstances to support the order and his sentence should be revised. The revised order comports with Supreme Court precedent and does not represent an abuse of the trial court’s discretion.

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Tax Court

Larry G. Jones and Sharon F. Jones v. Jefferson County Assessor
Tax. Denies the assessor’s motion to dismiss. Instructs the Joneses to file no later than April 28 a request for the Indiana Board of Tax Review to prepare a certified copy of its administrative record in the case. In accordance with Indiana Tax Court Rule 3(E), the Joneses shall then file the record with the clerk of the Tax Court within 30 days after they have received notification from the board that the record has been prepared. Once the court receives the board’s record, it will schedule another telephonic case management conference to discuss the need for additional briefing and oral argument.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Taylor v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition for expungement. Determines that the word “shall” in Section 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement. And such an interpretation does not render Section 35-38-9-9(d) meaningless because that section applies to other parts of the statute where the trial court does have discretion to deny a petition for expungement.

Geoffrey A. Gilbert v. Melinda J. Gilbert
Domestic relation. Affirms order approving mother’s relocation request. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting mother’s request to relocate because she had a good faith and legitimate purpose for relocating, and the move was not contrary to the children’s best interests. Additionally, mother is not entitled to appellate attorney fees because father’s appeal is not frivolous or in bad faith. Judge Robb dissents.

Charrise Belton v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reveres conviction of Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended. The state presented insufficient evidence to negate Belton’s necessity defense.

Teresa Fry n/k/a Teresa Dolan v. Michael Fry
Domestic relation. Affirms grant of Michael Fry’s emergency petition for modification of custody, alleging that Teresa Dolan suffers from a degenerative illness that renders her unable to adequately care for the children. Finds the trial court had jurisdiction to determine the custody of K.D. and it committed no legal error.

Geico General Insurance Company v. Laura B. Coyne, Cheryl A. O'Mailia, and James O'Mailia
Civil tort. Reverses award of attorney fees to the O’Mailias, which was based upon GEICO litigating in bad faith. GEICO’s counsel’s statements show the decisions not to disclose certain information was strategic in nature and believed to be within the bounds of the law. Denies the couple’s request for appellate attorney fees. Judge Barnes concurs in a separate opinion.

Joshua Cornett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

In Re: the Marriage of: Gordon Somerville v. Effie K. Somerville (NFP)
Domestic relation. Vacates trial court’s judgment in part because husband established a prima facie error with regard to the trial court’s valuations of marital property and remands with instructions.

K.P. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication that K.P. committed two acts that would be child molesting if committed by an adult.

Michelle D. Gauvin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Thomas Curtis Edmond v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Gwendolyn F. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony robbery and Class C felony battery and remands with instructions to enter judgment upon Jones’ felony intimidation conviction as a misdemeanor and resentence her.

Patrick R. Taylor v. Jason Evans, Curtis Evans, and Chrystal Evans (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms dismissal of Taylor’s personal injury action for failure to comply with a discovery order.

Daniel Torres v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

Barbara Wiggles v. Sandlian Management Corporation d/b/a U-Stor Self-Storage (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms decision to grant U-Stor’s motion to strike Wiggles’ affidavit and its decision to grant U-Stor’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

Ben L. Macon v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Macon’s motion to sever and hold two separate trials.

The Indiana Supreme Court posted no decisions Thursday prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.