Christina Kovats v. State of Indiana - 1/16/13

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Wednesday  January 16, 2013 
1:30 PM  EST

1:30 p.m. 15A01-1205-CR-224. Union County High School, Liberty. Christina M. Kovats was a home healthcare nurse hired to look after 98-year-old N.C., who had recently suffered from a stroke.  On the evening of October 28, 2011, Kovats was driving N.C. home from a weekly social event N.C. liked to attend when she stopped to fuel her car.  Kovats then drove off from the gas station without paying for gasoline, and subsequently fled from an Indiana State Police Trooper who tried to stop her for her theft of the gasoline.  After reaching speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, Kovats lost control of her car. N.C. was seriously injured in the wreck, had to be cut from the car, suffered severe pain, and died six weeks later. At the time of the incident, Kovats tested positive for oxymorphone, a drug more potent than morphine or heroin.
The State charged Kovats with Class B felony neglect of a dependent, Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Class D felony resisting law enforcement, and Class D felony criminal recklessness.  Following a four-day jury trial, Kovats was found guilty as charged.  The trial court entered judgment of conviction on the jury verdicts, but at the sentencing hearing “merged” the Class D felony convictions into the conviction for Class B felony neglect of a dependent and sentenced Kovats to twenty years of incarceration on the Class B felony only.  


On appeal, Kovats claims that: (1) the trial court abused its discretion by considering as an aggravating factor that N.C. died six weeks after she sustained her injuries, (2) her twenty-year sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender, and (3) the trial court should have vacated the judgments of conviction entered on the merged counts.

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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