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Opinions June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014
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Indiana Supreme Court
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Thursday.

Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana
28S00-1305-LW-327
Criminal. Affirms in all respects the murder conviction and life without parole sentence for Randy L. Knapp in the killing of Stacey Lawson. The court rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony were improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and nature of his offense.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian S. Moore v. Kristy L. Moore
49A04-1310-DR-499
Domestic relation. Reverses contempt finding against Brian Moore and 30-day suspended jail sentence. The trial court improperly denied his request for the appointment of counsel. Remands for the trial court to determine if he is indigent and, if so, to appoint counsel to represent him at a new contempt hearing.

Robert L. Slone v. State of Indiana
17A03-1312-CR-496
Criminal. Affirms 24-year sentence after Robert L. Slone pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary in two separate causes. The fact that the state chose to join charges for trial does not prove that Slone’s criminal actions arose from a single episode of criminal conduct, therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing.

In the Matter of the Adoption of M.S.; C.L.S., v. A.L.S.
20A03-1306-AD-217
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s order granting stepmother’s petition to adopt minor daughter, M.S. Rejects mother’s argument that the trial court’s calculation of her child support arrearage as the equivalent of one year of missed payments was improper. Concludes that interpreting Indiana statute as meaning a parent must fail to pay child support for one entire calendar year could lead to absurd consequences. Also finds the adoption was in M.S.’s best interests.

Jonathan Stephens v. State of Indiana

85A02-1306-CR-518
Criminal. Affirms Class C felony criminal confinement conviction. There is sufficient evidence to support the conviction; Stephens’ attorney did not provide ineffective assistance; and, although the prosecutor made one improper remark during closing arguments, Stephens could not prove fundamental error. Remands with instructions for trial court to correct the sentencing order, abstract of judgment and chronological case summary to reflect that an 8-year habitual offender enhancement serves as an enhancement of the criminal confinement conviction.

Randolph Kelley v. State of Indiana and Paige A. Devlin
02A03-1308-CR-329
Criminal. Affirms trial court order awarding Devlin a $50,000 credit toward restitution in Kelly’s favor. The criminal court did not commit reversible error when it granted Devlin a credit toward the restitution order based on her insurer’s payment of damages pursuant to a civil settlement to satisfy the criminal court’s restitution order of $59.974.87 for injuries Kelley suffered as a result of Devlin operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Lakhvir Singh v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A02-1309-CR-761
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony rape, Class B felony attempted criminal deviate conduct, Class D felony sexual battery, Class D felony strangulation and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

Dena Alfayyad v. U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for RASC 2007KS3 (NFP)
29A02-1307-MF-652
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank National Association.

In the Matter of: A.H., Jb.H., and Je.H., Children in Need of Services, C.P. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
34A05-1401-JC-1
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication of children in need of services.

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

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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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