Opinions

Opinions June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Cristofer Tichenor
11-2433
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Criminal. Affirms 300-month sentence following guilty plea to armed robbery and discharging a firearm in connection with robbing a bank. Rejects Tichenor’s argument that the career offender sentencing guideline is unconstitutionally vague, finding that the guidelines are not susceptible to vagueness challenges and the U.S. Sentencing Commission did not exceed its authority by promulgating the “crime of violence” definition.
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Opinions June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Svetlana Arizanovska v. Wal-Mart Stores, Incorporated
11-3387
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s finding of summary judgment against Arizanovska on her claims of discrimination, retaliation and other state-law claims against her employer, Wal-Mart. Holds that Wal-Mart’s suggestion that Arizanovska take an unpaid leave of absence was outlined in company policy and was not an adverse, retaliatory response to her filing a discrimination claim.
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Opinions June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
IP of A West 86th Street 1, LLC, et al., v. Morgan Stanley Worldwide Capital Holdings, LLC
11-2891
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s summary judgment in favor of Morgan Stanley, holding that the company was entitled to structure the sale of a loan as it wished and that the company did not err in allowing a purchaser to use escrow funds to finance the sale.
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Opinions June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kenneth Harper v. C.R. England, Incorporated
11-2975
U. S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s determination that Harper failed to set forth a prima facie case, under either the direct or indirect method of proof, to support his claim that C.R. England had retaliated against him for reporting what he believed to be unlawful racial discrimination. Holds that his record shows excessive absences were the cause for his termination.
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Opinions June 7, 2012

June 7, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
A.R.M. v. State of Indiana
71A05-1111-JV-613
Juvenile. Affirms juvenile court’s adjudication of A.R.M. as a delinquent child for committing child molesting, as a Class C felony when committed by an adult, and battery, as a Class B misdemeanor when committed by an adult. Holds that the court did not err in admitting the child victim’s videotaped testimony.
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Opinions June 6, 2012

June 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Keith D. Jackson v. State of Indiana
20A03-1105-CR-222
Criminal. Reverses sentence for possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and remands for resentencing, holding the trial court erred by imposing a suspended sentence of four years contrary to the accepted plea agreement.
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Opinions June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin C. O'Connell v. State of Indiana
18A02-1109-CR-889
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to refuse O’Connell’s tendered jury instructions that the word “voluntary” be included with each of his charges. Holds that other instructions covered the substance of the tendered instructions.
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Opinions June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
R. Bruce Wallace v. Alliance Environmental, Inc. and Ruth Brown (NFP)

49A04-1111-CC-665
Civil collection. Affirms trial court’s recalculation of damages to Brown for Wallace’s breach of fiduciary duty.
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Opinions June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael Sheneman
11-3161
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for four counts of wire fraud in a two-year mortgage fraud scheme. Holds that Sheneman’s sentence enhancements were justified, due to the sophisticated means used to execute the fraud.
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Opinions May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Aaron M. Davis, Bobby Suggs, et al.
11-1313, 11-1323, et al.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Criminal. In consolidated appeal, affirms denial of the six defendants’ motion to reduce their sentences pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2) based on the retroactive crack cocaine amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The District Court did not have the power to adjudicate Suggs’ motion and lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. There is sufficient evidence for the District Court to conclude the other defendants were responsible for at least 4.5 kilograms of crack cocaine, which would prevent their sentences from being reduced.
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Opinions May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifton Ervin v. State of Indiana
29A05-1109-CR-454
Criminal. Affirms grant of a portion of Ervin’s motion to suppress. The trial court properly determined that the evidence seized by the uniformed on-duty police officers should not be suppressed pursuant to the exclusionary rule. Remands for trial.
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Opinions May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Tye Myers v. Charles R. Deets III, Deets & Kennedy, and Great American Insurance Group
79A02-1108-CT-771
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Edward Kennedy and the law firm on Myers’ claim for fraud against them and Deets. Myers couldn’t show that either Kennedy or the law firm was liable for Deets’ alleged fraudulent conduct. Reverses grant of Great American Insurance Group’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and remands for further proceedings. Judge Riley concurs in part and dissents in part.
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Opinions May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
E. Paul Haste v. State of Indiana
03A01-1108-CR-369
Criminal. Dismisses Haste’s appeal of his conviction of and sentence for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine because the order from which he appeals isn’t a final judgment.
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Opinions May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Finance Center Federal Credit Union v. Ronnie D. Brand, Debora J. Brand and GMAC Mortgage, LLC
49A02-1111-MF-1089
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms partial summary judgment in favor of GMAC regarding the priority of the GMAC Mortgage and Finance Center Federal Credit Union mortgages. Equity should not allow the Finance Center to gain an unexpectedly elevated priority because of any negligence of GMAC that did not harm Finance Center.
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Opinions May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gabriel J. Sharkey v. State of Indiana
84A04-1110-CR-550
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony intimidation. Sharkey’s 18-month suspended sentence is appropriate in light of the nature of the crime and his character.
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Opinions May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of V.H.; J.H. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services

49A02-1110-JC-947
Juvenile. Reverses juvenile court’s grant of CHINS petition and vacates the court’s participation order, holding that the CHINS adjudication and participation decree were erroneous.
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Opinions May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kristi J. Cortezano v. Salin Bank & Trust Company

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
11-1631
Civil. Affirms District court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Salin Bank & Trust Company, holding the bank did not violate Cortezano’s rights by firing her due to her husband’s immigration status. Remands to the District Court to strike from the record the names of Cortezano’s three children, as the District Court had not previously ruled on that motion.
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Opinions May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re the Adoption of S.J., R.W. v. G.C. and J.C.
04A03-1110-AD-449
Adoption. Dismisses appeal from R.W., the biological father of S.J., holding than an order that states his consent is not required for the petition to proceed neither grants nor denies S.J.’s adoption and is not a final, appealable action.
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Opinions May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Heriberto Suarez v. State of Indiana
02A05-1106-PC-325
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. The court did not err in denying his claim that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
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Opinions May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert A. Turner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
62A01-1111-CR-514
Criminal. Affirms imposition of public defender fee.
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Opinions May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dana L. Lewis, Jr. v. State of Indiana
40A01-1106-CR-276
Criminal. Reverses denial of Lewis’ motion to suppress statements he made during a police interview regarding an alleged sex crime. Lewis’ question, “Can I get a lawyer?” constituted an unequivocal invocation of his Fifth Amendment right to counsel.
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Opinions May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
BMD Contractors Inc. v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland
11-1345
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland. The Industrial Power/BMD Contractors subcontract expressly provides that Industrial Power’s receipt of payment is a condition precedent to its obligation to pay BMD. Because Industrial Power was never obligated to pay BMD in the first place, BMD may not recover against Fidelity on the payment bond. Also holds that pay-if-paid clauses are not void under Indiana public policy.
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Opinions May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Allison Riggle v. State of Indiana
49A05-1109-CR-472
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The traffic stop was invalid because Riggle did not commit a traffic violation. Remands with instructions to vacate her conviction.
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Opinions May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ashanti Clemons v. State of Indiana
49A02-1108-PC-737
Post conviction. Affirms denial of amended petition for post-conviction relief. Clemons was not denied effective assistance of his trial and appellate counsel.
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Opinions May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Luis Ramos v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A04-1103-CR-138
Criminal. Affirms sentences for felony murder and Class A misdemeanor possession of a handgun without a license, but remands for correction of sentence, holding sentences were to be served consecutively, not concurrently.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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