Opinions

Opinions Jan. 14, 2013

January 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Deantoine M. Harris v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1204-CR-185
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary and adjudication as a habitual offender.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2013

January 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dejuan T. Lowe v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1206-CR-264
Criminal. Dismisses as untimely Lowe’s appeal of sentence following guilty pleas to multiple felony charges of burglary and attempted burglary.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2013

January 10, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Andre Gonzalez v. State of Indiana
45S03-1206-CR-307
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition to remove the lifetime registration requirement and remands for further proceedings. Finds the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Indiana Constitution prohibits retroactive application of a lifetime registration requirement for Gonzalez, whose requirement to register for life was added while he was completing the 10-year required registration as a sex offender that was in place at the time due to his child solicitation conviction. Justice Rucker concurs in result.
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Opinions Jan. 9, 2013

January 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael D. Weir
11-3321
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. All the judges on the original panel have voted to deny the petition for rehearing and no judge in regular active service asked for a vote on the petition for rehearing en banc. The petition is therefore denied. Weir complained that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when a police officer seized $6,655 from him during a traffic stop.

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Opinions Jan. 8, 2013

January 8, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Arbor Homes LLC
12-2274
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Magistrate Judge Tim A Baker. Affirms District Court ruling in favor of West Bend Mutual Insurance that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Arbor Homes. Arbor Homes agreed to a settlement with homeowners without obtaining the prior consent of West Bend after raw sewage backed up into their brand new home.
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Opinions Jan. 7, 2013

January 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: C.A. & Z.A. (Minor Children), and H.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
41A04-1205-JT-407
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.
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Opinions Jan. 4, 2013

January 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Daniel E. Riley
78A05-1206-CR-311
Criminal. Reverses dismissal of Class B misdemeanor battery charges. Because the information was proper even with Indiana Gaming Agent Audrey Smoot as an affiant, and because there appears to have been no other basis for the dismissal (other than possibly a mistaken belief that an unauthorized investigation would affect the information), the trial court abused its discretion in granting the dismissal.
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Opinions Jan. 3, 2013

January 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Juan Ramirez-Fuentes
12-1494
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms convictions and 295-month sentence for possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Finds no plain error in admitting testimony about the possession of firearms, but testimony classifying the drug as “Mexican” methamphetamine shouldn’t have been allowed. Finds judge considered family situation when sentencing Ramirez-Fuentes.
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Opinions Dec. 31, 2012

January 2, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund v. Paul Bryson
49A04-1201-MI-2
Miscellaneous. Affirms original opinion that Bryson’s on-duty injury was a “covered impairment” making him eligible for Class 1 impairment disability benefits even though he had a pre-existing condition.
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Opinions Dec. 28, 2012

December 28, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
James M. Brinkley and Stephanie L. Brinkley v. Michael Haluska, P.E., d/b/a Retro Tech, et al.
32A01-1204-MI-181
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s summary judgment that Donald Gindelberger is a good faith purchaser for value of a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette because the Brinkleys were in the best position to prevent the allegedly fraudulent sale and did not do so. Also, it concluded the BMV is immune from liability.
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Opinions Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Fairly W. Earls
11-3347
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of making a false statement on a passport application, aggravated identity theft and knowingly transferring a stolen identification document. Affirms the admission of certain evidence at Earls’ trial and finds the District Court did not err in its calculation of his offense level.
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Opinions Dec. 21, 2012

December 21, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven E. Malloch v. State of Indiana
17A03-1201-CR-37
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting for an incident involving his stepdaughter. There was no prosecutorial misconduct and the trial court did not err by admitting Malloch’s apology letter to C.P. Although Malloch did not receive a perfect trial, the appellate judges are confident he received a fair trial.
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Opinions Dec. 20, 2012

December 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Beller, a minor, by his next friend and mother, Melissa Welch, et al. v. Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County Ind., d/b/a Wishard Memorial Hospital d/b/a Wishard Ambulance Service
11-3691
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the defendants on the plaintiffs lawsuit alleging violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by failing to stabilize Welch and her son during an emergency medical situation. Because the Wishard ambulance was operating under the EMS protocol at the time the plaintiffs were in it, the plaintiffs had not come to the Wishard emergency department under the EMTALA, and the plaintiffs’ claim cannot succeed.
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Opinions Dec. 19, 2012

December 19, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Norman W. Bernstein, et al. v. Patricia A. Bankert, et al. and Auto Owners Mutual Insurance Co.
11-1501, 11-1523
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of counts I, II, III and VII. In Count I, the trustees have made a timely CERCLA claim, under 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(B), to recover costs incurred pursuant to the 2002 AOC. The trustees’ Count II “companion claim” for a declaratory judgment of CERCLA liability is therefore also reinstated. Finds that the Indiana ELA claim contained in Count III is timely, and that the declaratory judgment claim contained in Count VII is not moot. The District Court committed no abuse of discretion in its handling of the summary judgment briefing process. Finally, affirms the District Court’s denial of Auto Owners’ motion for summary judgment on preclusion grounds. The trustees’ suit is reinstated and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2012

December 18, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Schepers v. State of Indiana
22A01-1201-CR-39
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal a trial court denial of a motion to dismiss several drug charges and a Class C felony count of neglect of a dependent. The court held that Schepers’ filing of a pro se motion for a speedy trial and motion to dismiss for violation of Criminal Rule 4 were filed while he was represented by a public defender and that he did not clearly and unequivocally assert his right to self-representation. Remands cause for trial.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2012

December 17, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Knight v. Allstate Property and Casualty Ins. Co. (NFP)
02A05-1206-PL-290
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Allstate.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brenda Alexander v. Donald Alexander
32A05-1108-DR-417
Domestic relations. Affirms in a divided opinion the trial court denial of a motion to correct error of the court’s omission of an award for incapacity maintenance for Brenda Alexander. She claimed that testimony of her disabilities and court findings supported an award, but the majority held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on ruling that such an award was not warranted.
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Opinions Dec. 13, 2012

December 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of Rudy Escobedo (deceased) (Raquel Hanic, Personal Representative of Estate) v. Officer Brian Martin, et al.
11-2426
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms jury verdict in favor of the defendants on the estate’s excessive force claim against the police and the city of Fort Wayne and grant of judgment as a matter of laws on qualified immunity grounds, as well as summary judgment in favor of officers Martin and Brown on the excessive force claim.
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Opinions Dec. 12, 2012

December 12, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ponziano Construction Services, Inc. v. Quadri Enterprises, LLC
45A05-1112-CC-661
Civil collection. Reverses award of $16,000 to Ponziano on its breach of contract claim against Quadri and the denial of Ponziano’s rquest to foreclose on its mechanic’s lien. Affirms the award of $8,000 in attorney fees to Ponziano and remands with instructions to the trial court to enter judgment in favor of Ponziano for $48,483.43, order sale of the property subject to the $45,549.43 lien, and determine the existence, extent, and outcome of a potential priority dispute between Ponziano and Wells Fargo.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2012

December 11, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Paul Henry Gingerich v. State of Indiana
43A05-1101-CR-27
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder and remands for further proceedings. The juvenile court abused its discretion when it denied Gingerich’s request for a continuance.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2012

December 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Vance v. Francisco Lozano, et al.
02A03-1203-SC-142
Small claim. Reverses judgment in favor of Rock Solid and Lozano on Vance’s breach of contract claim. Finds the parties entered into an enforceable settlement agreement.
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2012

December 7, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry L. Brown v. Tammy S. Brown
77A01-1204-PL-180
Civil plenary. Reverses civil judgment in favor of Terry Brown’s ex-wife. The trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence regarding criminal offenses he committed more than 20 years ago. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2012

December 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Connie Yates, Rick Yates, Jason Tibbs, and Pauline Tibbs v. Levi Wayne Kemp

50A04-1204-CT-192
Civil tort. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment to Kemp on the Yateses’ and Tibbses’ claims for nuisance. Based on the plain language of I.C. 14-22-31.5-6 and its context in the act as a whole, Kemp is not shielded by section 6 from liability related to his neighbors’ nuisance claims arising from noise pollution. There is also a material fact as to whether Kemp has caused his neighbors to experience inconvenience, annoyance or discomfort.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2012

December 5, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Gregory Wolfe
11-3281
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of bank theft and interstate transportation of stolen goods for Wolfe’s role in a copper theft scheme and his 88-month sentence, followed by concurrent three-year terms of supervised release, and order of more than $3 million in restitution. Wolfe argued that he was deprived of a fair trial because of statements the prosecutor made during closing argument. He also challenged the sentence and restitution order. Wolfe’s contentions lack merit.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2012

December 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerry Vanzyll v. State of Indiana
34A02-1111-CR-1050
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands to the trial court convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felonies of possession of meth and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The court affirmed the drug convictions but ordered the resisting conviction vacated because it held there was insufficient evidence to prove that Vanzyll fled.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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