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Opinions May 20, 2014

May 20, 2014
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Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Adoption of J.M.: J.P. and J.M. v. R.H. and R.H.
82A01-1309-AD-404
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s judgment that the natural parents’ consent was not necessary in the adoption of their child, J.M. Concludes the trial court did not err when it held a consent hearing which essentially terminated the rights of the natural parents. Also finds the trial court did consider the best interests of the child and that the trial court did not need to consider the natural parents’ fitness at the time of the consent hearing and again at the adoption hearing.  

Tamara Critser v. Chad L. Critser, Jr. (NFP)

40A01-1308-DR-369
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court order granting father Chad L. Critser Jr.’s petition for modification of custody and trial court order denying mother’s petition to relocate.

In Re: Nancy J. McMillen Testamentary Trust, Donna M. McMillen v. Thomas Kane (NFP)
71A03-1308-TR-334
Trust. Affirms trial court denial of Donna McMillen’s petition to remove Thomas Kane as a trustee of a testamentary trust.

Mark Blackburn v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1310-CR-833
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony robbery.

Robert Beeler v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1310-CR-845
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder.

Clifton Brooks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
30A05-1306-CR-299
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while suspended for life.

Courtney Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1310-CR-500
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 60-year sentence for murder.

In re the Paternity of J.W.: A.P. (Mother) v. A.W. (Father) (NFP)

89A01-1312-JP-549
Juvenile. Reverses trial court denial of mother’s motion for relocation. Remands to the trial court for further proceedings to determine whether relocation is in the child’s best interest, finding that mother met her burden to show a good faith and legitimate reason for relocating from Richmond to New York.

Zackery Reahard v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A02-1311-CR-1005
Criminal. Affirms convictions and aggregate 44-year sentence for conviction of Class A felony child molesting, Class B felony child molesting, Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor, Class C felony child molesting, and Class D felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

Pritika Patel, Kala Patel v. Bhupen Ray, Amy Ray, Indiana Hospitality Real Estate & Management, LLC (NFP)
53A01-1311-PL-494
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court rulings and declines to enter judgment in favor or Pritika Patel on her wage claim or for unjust enrichment.

Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions by IL deadline. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana opinions by IL deadline Tuesday.
 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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