Opinions July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Martin J. Jonassen
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Mood.
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for kidnapping and obstruction of justice. The District Court properly declined to conduct a competency hearing. Although Jonassen asserted bizarre legal theories based on his claim of “sovereign citizenship,” that alone does not provide a reason to doubt his competence to stand trial, and the record does not otherwise suggest that he lacked the ability to understand the proceedings. The court’s evidentiary ruling was also sound. The government laid an ample foundation for admission of the hearsay statements under Rule 804(b)(6); the evidence established that Jonassen used bribery, guilt and various forms of psychological intimidation to procure his daughter’s unavailability. Finally, because he did not request Jencks Act material before the close of trial, his claim for relief under the Act necessarily fails.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Serenity Springs, Inc. and Laura Ostergren v. The LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, by and through its Board of Managers
Miscellaneous. Reverses judgment in favor of LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau that permanently enjoined Serenity Springs from using the Internet domain name and transferred the domain name to the visitors bureau. “Visit Michigan City LaPorte” is not a protectable trade name and Serenity Springs’ use of it was not unfair competition.

John M. Abbott, LLC, Class Representative and All Others Similarly Situated v. Lake City Bank
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the bank on John M. Abbott LLC’s class action, alleging the bank breached the terms of its promissory note executed in conjunction with certain commercial real estate loans. The note makes clear that the term being defined – the 365/360 method – is the method of computing regular interest payments, not the annual interest rate.

Larry D. Knox v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal. The evidence most favorable to the judgment demonstrates that Knox knowingly or intentionally mutilated the cat when he kicked it so hard it knocked out a tooth.

M.G. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana if committed by an adult.

Hubert Cook Mayhugh III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of felony murder and reverses Mayhugh’s Class D felony theft conviction. Affirms 60-year sentence.  

In the Matter of K.L., K.L., and K.G., C.L. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms order adjudicating the three children as children in need of services.

Randell Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony neglect of a dependent and four counts of Class A misdemeanor cruelty to an animal.

Connie Hinsenkamp, Town of Seelyville Clerk-Treasurer v. Seelyville Town Council; Jerry Jones, Council President; Jerry Reynolds, Council Member; and John Wade, Council Member (NFP)
Civil collection. Affirms partial denial of Hinsenkamp’s motion for summary judgment on the issues of compensation, her authority to discharge a town employee and the forfeiture of town council positions.

Marvin Strong v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections.

Ashley N. Lemon v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

Maurice Amos, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder, Class A felony attempted murder and Class D felony receiving stolen auto parts, and finding Amos is a habitual offender.

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