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Opinions July 31, 2014

July 31, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Wednesday.

United States of America v. William J. Davidson
14-1158
Criminal. Reverses denial of Davidson’s motion for a reduction of his 30-year sentence under the revised federal guidelines for crack cocaine sentences. Remands for reconsideration of the motion, finding the court erred in equating jointly undertaken criminal activity with conspiracy.

Indiana Court of Appeals
William T. Calvert v. State of Indiana
32A01-1312-CR-535
Criminal. Reversed conviction of illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor, a Class C misdemeanor. Rules the trial court should have granted a continuance rather than try Calvert in absentia. Calvert, a private in the U.S. Army, was denied his constitutional right to be present at his trial because he was on deployment in Afghanistan when his hearing was held. Remands for a new trial.

Linda M. Turner v. Sally A. Kent and Stanley J. Kazlauski
64A05-1310-TR-510
Trust. Affirms summary judgment in favor of apellees-petitioners, concluding that the Indiana Trust Code prohibits incorporation by reference of specific gifts and real property, and therefore, the separate writing bequeathing real property to Kent and Kazlauski is invalid. The real property must be distributed under the equal shares provision of the trust.

State of Indiana v. Chase R. Downey
10A01-1310-CR-432
Criminal. Reverses order setting aside an order to transfer funds seized from a defendant in a felony marijuana possession case. The majority concluded Clark Division One Circuit Court abused its discretion by setting aside the order issued in Clark Division Three Circuit Court, a venue of equal jurisdiction. The majority also ruled Downey’s request that the funds be returned to him is moot because the money was turned over to federal authorities. Dissenting Judge Margret Robb would affirm the order to set aside, noting the motion to transfer funds was filed in Division Three and signed by the Division One judge. She also noted Downey had no notice of the motion before it was ordered, and she disagreed that his request was moot because the money still exists even if not in the state’s immediate possession.

Brookview Properties, LLC and First Merchants Bank of Central Indiana v. Plainfield Plan Commission

32A04-1312-PL-606
Civil plenary. Affirms judgment in favor of the Plainfield Plan Commission. Finds the plan commission’s denial of Brookview’s petition for development of 300-unit apartment complex was not arbitrary or capricious. Rules the plan commission’s findings are supported by substantial evidence and reject’s Brookview’s argument that the commission’s decision constitutes an uncompensated taking in violation of the U.S. and Indiana constitutions.

Marlon D. McKnight v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1308-PC-333
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Tobin Pettiet v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1312-CR-510
Criminal. Affirms three-year sentence for pleading guilty to domestic battery, a Class D felony.

Joshua W. Sanford v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1312-CR-552
Criminal. Affirms conviction of theft, as a Class D felony.

Ronald Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1311-CR-451
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder and executed sentence of 65 years.

Terry Lee Carr v. State of Indiana (NFP)
90A05-1311-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Robert Hubbard v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A05-1312-CR-622
Criminal. Affirms six-year aggregate sentence for pleading guilty to Class D felony residential entry and Class D felony invasion of privacy and status as a habitual offender.

Justin Stephens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1312-CR-598
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.  

Mark McCoy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1310-CR-531
Criminal. Affirms convictions for three counts of child molesting, Class A felonies, and one count each for criminal confinement, intimidation, and child molesting, all Class C felonies.

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

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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