Opinions

Opinions May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gary P. Byers v. Robert E. Moredock and Rhoda S. Moredock
34A04-1412-CT-560
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the Moredocks and against Byers. Finds the Moredocks as owners of the property and landlords did not have a duty to ensure their tenant’s dog was properly restrained.
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Opinions May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015
Indiana Tax Court
Lee and Sally Peters v. Lisa Garoffolo, Boone County Assessor, and the Indiana Board of Tax Review
49T10-1207-TA-42
Tax. Affirms the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s 2010 assessment of a Zionsville office building owned by Lee and Sally Peters. The Indiana Board of Tax Review did no err in upholding the 2010 real property assessment.
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Opinions May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
The Board of Commissioners of the County of Jefferson v. Teton Corporation, Innovative Roofing Solutions, Inc., Gutapfel Roofing, Inc., and Daniel L. Gutapfel
72S04-1410-CT-642
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the contractors on the county’s subrogation claim to recover damages caused to the courthouse outside the scope of the renovation work. The plain meaning of the contract defines the scope of the AIA contract waiver based on the extent and source of coverage, not the nature of the property damaged. Agrees with the majority of jurisdictions that have applied this plain meaning to bar recovery for all damages covered by the same property insurance policy used to cover construction-related damages – commonly referred to as the “any insurance” approach. Because contractors have shown that the property owner’s insurance covered all damages, the subrogation waiver applies to bar the property owner’s claim.
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Opinions May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Daniel Lee Pierce v. State of Indiana
78S05-1407-CR-460
Criminal. Affirms Pierce’s convictions for molesting his three young granddaughters. Finds his abuse of the girls in his care was sufficiently connected, so he is not entitled to new and separate trials. Remands for the purpose of resentencing on one count of Class A felony child molesting because the trial court erred by suspending six years of Pierce’s 30-year sentence for that count. Justices Robert Rucker and Brent Dickson concur in a separate opinion.
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Opinions May 12, 2015

May 12, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael A. Knoll and Dax G. Shephard; Appeal of: Bob Henson
14-3027
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the government on Henson’s claim he had a legal right, title or interest in the Indianapolis or Fort Wayne properties forfeited to the government after Outlaw members Knoll and Shephard pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. But Henson did not present evidence showing he had a legal right, title or interest, and his statement indicated his interest did not begin until after the raid occurred in 2012.
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Opinions May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mary K. Davis v. State of Indiana
20A03-1411-PC-408
Post conviction. Reverses denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Orders Davis immediately released pending resolution of this appeal. The post-conviction court’s findings and conclusions were contrary to law. The state’s notice of violation was filed on the day Davis’ probation ended such that there was no period of probation to be tolled, which means the trial court could not continue her terms of probation pursuant to Ind. Code § 35-38-2-3(c).
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Opinions May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jay R. Thompson v. State of Indiana
31A01-1408-PC-350
Post conviction. Affirms grant of the state’s motion to dismiss Thompson’s post-conviction relief petition pursuant to the doctrine of laches. The state was prejudiced by his 22-year delay in prosecuting his PCR petition.
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Opinions May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015
Jonathan Grott, Sr. v. State of Indiana
64A04-1408-CR-395
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony auto theft. There is sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction, which stems from Grott's failure to return a rental car on a specific date.
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Opinions May 5, 2015

May 5, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Christopher Boultinghouse
14-2764
Chief Judge Richard Young, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Boultinghouse’s supervised release. Finds Boultinghouse knowingly and intelligently made his decision to waive his right to counsel. Vacates sentence and remands for resentencing. Rules the District Court erred by not explaining the reasons behind its decision to impose a 24-month term of imprisonment.
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Website domain dispute pulled from justices’ calendar

May 5, 2015
Dave Stafford
A dispute over a website address that had been scheduled for oral arguments Wednesday before the Indiana Supreme Court has been settled, an attorney involved in the case said.
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Opinions May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bruce Carneil Webster v. Charles A. Daniels
14-1049
Judge William T. Lawrence, District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division.
Criminal. In a 6-5 decision, En banc review reverses 7th Circuit panel judgment that new evidence can never satisfy the habeas corpus standard of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Remands for proceedings allowing Webster to present new evidence that may demonstrate categorical and constitutional ineligibility for the death penalty. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook dissented, arguing Webster’s new evidence did not meet the “clear and convincing” language required for relief. Easterbrook was joined in dissent by Circuit Judges William J. Bauer, Michael S. Kanne, Diane S. Sykes and John Tinder.
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Court OKs admission of tweets, reverses criminal gang activity conviction

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression regarding the authentication of social media posts, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the testimony from the defendant's girlfriend that the Twitter account belonged to her boyfriend, as well as content from that account, sufficiently showed the defendant was the author of its tweets.
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Opinions April 30, 2015

April 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bruce Angelo Evans v. State of Indiana
48A02-1407-CR-496
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony dealing in a narcotic drug and pleading to being a habitual substance offender. Evans waived his challenge regarding the instruction on jury unanimity by failing to object to the jury instruction or offer one of his own, and any error does not rise to the level of fundamental error. Affirms admission into evidence a large amount of cash found on Evans when he was searched by law enforcement officers after the controlled drug buy.
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Man’s conviction from controlled drug buy upheld

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Anderson man who was criminally convicted for selling drugs to a confidential informant waived both his arguments on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. And, the judges found no fundamental error in a jury instruction given or the admission of cash found on the defendant by police.
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Opinions April 29, 2015

April 29, 2015
 Indiana Supreme Court
James Bogner v. Teresa Bogner
45S04-1501-DR-23
Domestic relation. Affirms modification of child support that deviated from what was found under the child support guidelines of $59 a week paid by the father to $105 per week paid by the father, in addition to order that mother could claim the child each year on her taxes. The trial court did not err in determining that given the parents’ circumstances, the guideline amount was unjust and unreasonable. Finds father waived his challenge to the form of the summary proceeding when he failed to make a contemporaneous objection to that procedure. 
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Opinions April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015

Indiana Court of Appeals
Dawn Warrick and Nathan Parrish v. Steve and Mitzi Stewart
92A03-1407-CC-257
Civil collection. Affirms grant of Steve Stewart’s motion to set aside the jury’s verdict and orders a new trial on his negligence claim against the Parrishes. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it weighed the evidence presented regarding Stewart’s speed and concluding he was not speeding. There was also ample evidence represented that the Warricks negligently failed to restrain the dog that Stewart hit, which caused his accident.

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Opinions April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Adegoke Adetokunbo aka Robert Adesanoye, and Grace Itaniyi v. State of Indiana
49A02-1407-CR-511
Criminal. Affirms Adetokunbo’s convictions of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor battery, and affirms Itaniyi’s convictions of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Reverses Itaniyi’s conviction of Class B misdemeanor battery based on insufficient evidence and remands with instructions to vacate that conviction.
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Opinions April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015
Tax. Affirms the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance did not err in denying the Clark County Board of Commissioners' request to increase the county's Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax rate for the 2012 budget year. The DLGF's consideration of the board's purpose for requesting an increase to the CCDF's tax rate was proper, and neither I.C. 6-1.1-41 nor 36-9-14.5-2 authorize an increase to the CCDF tax rate for the purposes Clark County intended.
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Opinions April 23, 2015

April 23, 2015
J.B. v. State of Indiana 
49A02-1409-JV-688
Juvenile. Affirms determination that J.B. committed what would be Class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm if committed by an adult. There were no federal or state constitutional violations by admitting evidence obtained during J.B.’s encounter with a police officer.  
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Opinions April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
William I. Babchuk, M.D., P.C., d/b/a Babchuk Imaging, P.C., and William I. Babchuk v. Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital, Inc., d/b/a Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital
80A04-1409-PL-447
Civil plenary. Reverses order dismissing Babchuk’s complaint of breach of contract for failure to prosecute under Trial Rule 41(E).  While the trial court would have had discretion to dismiss Babchuk’s case for failure to prosecute had a timely motion been filed, the hospital did not file its motion to dismiss before Babchuk had resumed prosecution of his case. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Kenneth Sandidge
14-1492
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms four-level enhancement for conviction of felon in possession of a firearm because it was in connection with another felony, and denial of three-level reduction for accepting responsibility. Remands to the trial court to vacate conditions of supervised release, which in accord with recent 7th Circuit holdings must be imposed to fit the particular circumstances of the defendant being sentenced.
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Opinions April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stephen F. Smith v. Foegley Landscape, Inc.
71A03-1405-SC-169
Small Claims. Affirms judgment in favor of Foegley Landscape but reverses $1,500 award for attorney fees. Finds the small claims court did not have any documentation to properly evaluate the reasonableness of the fees. Remands to the small claims court to hold a hearing and determine the reasonable attorney fees.
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Opinions April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angelique Lockett and Lanetra Lockett v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Inc., and Cathy McGee
45A05-1407-CT-340
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood on a malpractice claim, but remands to the trial court to correct the order of judgment for defendants to show that McGee, who provided identification to a 17-year-old to obtain an abortion without parental consent, is not dismissed as a defendant.
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Opinions April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Satterfield v. State of Indiana
49A02-1409-CR-659
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to let bail following Satterfield’s arrest and charge for murder. Although Statterfield forfeited his right to appeal by not filing the notice of appeal within 30 days of the trial court order, the COA concluded his appeal deserves a determination on the merits. Remands for new hearing so Satterfield can present evidence of self-defense.
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Opinions April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015
Joseph E. Corcoran v. Ron Neal, superintendent
13-1318
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms denial of writ for federal habeas relief from death penalty. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the trial judge did not rely on nonstatutory aggravating factors, and that determination was not unreasonable. The Supreme Court also reasonably determined that the trial judge considered all proffered evidence in mitigation.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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