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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. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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