Opinions

Opinions Oct. 20, 2016

October 20, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Tyson Timbs and a 2012 Land Rover LR2
27A04-1511-MI-1976
Miscellaneous/civil forfeiture. Majority affirms trial court ruling that the forfeiture of Tyson Timbs’ 2012 Land Rover was a constitutionally excessive fine when the state sought to seize the vehicle after he was charged with two counts of Class B felony dealing in a controlled substance and one count of Class D felony conspiracy to commit theft.  Dissenting Judge Michael Barnes would reverse the trial court and grant the State’s forfeiture request.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2016

October 19, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Charles Summers
09A02-1604-MI-933
Miscellaneous. Reverses Cass Superior Court’s order granting Charles Summers’ petition to remove his name from the sex-offender registry. Finds that because Summers was under a tolling requirement in Illinois, there is no punitive burden to maintaining that requirement across state lines and that there is no ex post facto violation. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2016

October 18, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana ex rel. Indiana Department of Transportation v. Joshua Dehaven and FBi Buildings, Inc.
37A05-1603-CC-648
Civil collection. Affirms denial of the State of Indiana, ex rel. Indiana Department of Transportation’s motion for summary judgment in lawsuit against Joshua DeHaven and FBi Buildings, Inc. INDOT is not entitled to recover, as a matter of law, the actual cost incurred to repair the bridge after DeHaven struck it with his trailer.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2016

October 17, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles J. Davis Sr. v. Jay Phelps, Bartholomew County Clerk

03A01-1604-PL-928
Civil plenary. Reverses Bartholomew Circuit Court’s order dismissing Charles J. Davis Sr.’s complaint for failure to make a timely payment of fees. Finds that Davis should have been given 45 days to make the payment, but was only given 30 days. Remands with instructions for Davis to re-send the filing fee of $17.18 within 45 days.

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Opinions Oct. 14, 2016

October 14, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kent R. Blair, Sr. v. State of Indiana
02A05-1604-CR-832
Criminal. Affirms Kent Blair’s convictions of invasion of privacy as a Level 6 felony and criminal trespass as a Class A misdemeanor, and his sentence to 1 ½ years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the evidence is sufficient to sustain Blair’s convictions, that the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing him and that his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2016

October 13, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Danny Sims v. Andrew Pappas and Melissa Pappas
45A03-1509-CT-1424
Civil tort. Majority reverses jury award of $2 million in favor of the Pappases in a lawsuit following a crash caused by Sims, an intoxicated driver. The trial court erred in admitting Sims’ prior decades-old convictions for alcohol-related offenses that neither proved nor disproved any facts that were central to the questions the jury decided, and were therefore irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial. Judge Robert Altice dissents, arguing admission of the evidence of past convictions was for the sole purpose of establishing punitive damages and bear on the reprehensibility of his actions and state of mind.  

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Opinions Oct. 12, 2016

October 12, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
James Blasius v. Angel Automotive, Inc.
15-2994
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses district court decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Angel Automotive Inc. after James Blasius accused the company of negligence. Finds that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to the proximate cause of the fire that consumed Blasius’ vehicle and that Blasius is entitled to rely on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2016

October 11, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Allen County Plan Commission, et al. v. Olde Canal Place Association, et al.
02A03-1412-PL-441
Civil plenary. Reverses Allen Superior Court’s order granting Olde Canal Place Association and its members relief from judgment. Finds that the association cannot establish a meritorious claim. Remands with instructions to vacate the judgment setting aside its dismissal of the association’s petition for judicial review.

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Opinions Oct. 6, 2016

October 6, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of N.G. (Minor Child), and N.R.G. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
71A04-1602-JT-346
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Remands with instructions to provide more specific findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the termination of N.R.G.’s parental rights to her daughter, N.G.
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Opinions Oct. 5, 2016

October 5, 2016
Indiana Tax Court
Hamilton Square Investment, LLC. v. Hamilton County Assessor
49T10-1505-TA-00018
Tax. Reverses the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review. Remands to the Indiana Board of Tax Review to instruct the appropriate officials to take action. Finds that Hamilton Square Investment LLC was correct in its claim that the board erred in upholding the classification of its real property and the allocation of its tax cap credits for the 2012 tax year.
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Opinions Oct. 4, 2016

October 4, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Lewis, III v. State of Indiana
45S00-1601-LW-32
Life without parole. Resentences Robert Lewis to a total of 88 years’ imprisonment for his convictions of murder, criminal deviate conduct as a Class B felony and resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony. Remands to the trial court for the imposition of the sentences.
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Opinions Oct. 3, 2016

October 3, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Michael R. Pence, in his official capacity as Governor of Indiana, et al.
16-1509
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms preliminary injunction barring Gov. Mike Pence from ordering federal money to assist the resettlement of Syrian refugees be withheld because of potential terror threats. The district judge was correct in granting the injunction because Exodus is likely to prevail in a trial on the merits.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2016

September 30, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Kadrovach v. State of Indiana
49A02-1510-CR-1738
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder for a hotdog vendor who stabbed a man in the head in downtown Indianapolis. The court did not commit fundamental error when it instructed the jury as to the mens rea necessary to convict him of attempted murder.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2016

September 29, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jakob Robinson v. State of Indiana
79A02-1603-CR-522
Criminal. Affirms eight year sentence, with five years in the Department of Correction and three suspended to probation, following Robinson’s guilty plea to five counts of child seduction as Level 5 felonies. His sentence is not inappropriate given his manipulation of his victim, a student at the school where he taught and coached, and his abuse of his position of trust over her.
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Opinions Sept. 28, 2016

September 28, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Susan E. Sturdivant v. State of Indiana
08A02-1601-CR-186
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to allow Susan Sturdivant to conduct her own defense. Finds that there was no evidence that Sturdivant was suffering from severe mental illness.
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Opinions Sept. 27, 2016

September 27, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dale Sedam, Kim Sedam, and Bryan Norris, as co-personal representatives of the Estate of David C. Hamblin, deceased v. 2JR Pizza Enterprises, LLC doing business as Pizza Hut #013413, et al.
39A05-1602-CT-296
Civil tort. Reverses partial summary judgment in favor of Pizza Hut after its employee, Amanda Parker, was involved in a car accident that killed David C. Hamblin while she was acting within the scope of her employment. Finds that an employer’s admission that its employee committed the alleged negligent act within the scope of her employment does not preclude an action for negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2016

September 26, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jon A. Arnold v. State of Indiana
88A01-1603-PC-677
Post conviction. Affirms trial court’s decision to deny Jon A. Arnold’s petition for post-conviction relief. Arnold has not established that a defense overlooked by trial counsel would have likely changed the outcome of the proceeding.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2016

September 23, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Adoption of: J.S.S. and K.N.S., Rayburn and Beth Robinson v. M.R.S.
02A04-1603-AD-545
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s decision to deny B.R. and R.R.’s motion to correct error after the trial court found that they had not established clear and convincing evidence necessary to dispense with parental consent. B.R. and R.R., foster parents, had petitioned to adopt J.S.S. and K.N.S. without the consent of their father, M.S.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2016

September 22, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darwick Young v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1602-CR-216
Criminal. Affirms Darwick Young’s conviction for Level 2 felony dealing in cocaine, Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance and Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Remands with instructions to vacate Young’s Level 3 felony possession of cocaine conviction and to revise his sentence.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2016

September 21, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Andre C. Coleman v. State of Indiana
49A02-1511-CR-1999
Criminal. Vacates imposition of supplemental public defender and probation fees against Andre Coleman. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 20, 2016

September 20, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christina Schermerhorn v. State of Indiana
49A02-1510-CR-1643
Criminal. Affirms Christina Schermerhorn’s convictions of criminal recklessness, a Class A misdemeanor, and domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor.

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Opinions Sept. 16, 2016

September 16, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bradley Starr by Next Friend Heather Starr-Haller and Heather Starr-Haller v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Company and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
32A05-1605-PL-976
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for State Farm on Starr-Haller’s complaint seeking coverage for an auto accident. State Farm did not waive its right to deny Starr-Haller the coverage she now claims for an accident that occurred after her coverage had lapsed.
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Opinions Sept. 15, 2016

September 15, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mindy M. Cline v. State of Indiana
38A04-1512-XP-2221
Expungement petition. Reverses and remands denial of Mindy Cline’s petition for expungement, finding trial court abused its discretion in denying her petition. Judge Michael Barnes dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Sept. 14, 2016

September 14, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Meridian Health Services Corporation v. Thomas Martin Bell

71A04-1511-DR-2005
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order finding Meridian Health Services Corporation in contempt of court for failure to comply with a subpoena duces tecum and appear at a deposition and awarding attorney fees as a sanction. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding Meridian in contempt.
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Opinions Sept. 13, 2016

September 13, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
William Hinesley, III v. Wendy Knight, superintendent, Correctional Industrial Facility

15-2122
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Jane E. Magnus?Stinson, Judge.
Civil. Affirms district court’s decision to deny William Hinesley’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. Finds that Hinesley’s counsel was not ineffective in a prejudicial manner.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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