Opinions

Opinions Feb. 21, 2012

February 21, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Herbert Yanez v. State of Indiana
49A02-1104-CR-362
Criminal. Reverses conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor and remands for further proceedings. There was no evidence presented as to why Yanez was stopped and the evidence presented didn’t establish the reasonableness of the state’s actions. Judge Barnes concurs in result in a separate opinion.
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Opinions Feb. 20, 2012

February 20, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Curtis Cole v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, and Owen County (NFP)
93A02-1106-EX-510
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits.
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2012

February 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Samuel T. Henzel
11-2293
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms 135-month sentence imposed following guilty plea to traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. The District Court miscalculated the imprisonment range favorably to Henzel, and the sentence imposed is actually within the correctly calculated range.
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Opinions Feb. 16, 2012

February 16, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Richmond State Hospital and All Other Similarly Situated State Institutions and Agencies v. Paula Brattain, et al.
49S02-1106-CV-327
Civil. Holds that the back pay recovery of the non-merit employees of the state should be limited in the same manner as the Court of Appeals has set forth for that of merit employees of the state. Remands with instructions to recalculate the non-merit employees’ back pay judgment based upon the time period beginning either 10 days before the complaint or 10 days before the filing of their grievances until the day the state eliminated its split-pay system, and summarily affirms the COA in all other respects.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2012

February 15, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Pierre Freeman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1107-CR-341
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2012

February 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Marriage of K.Z. and M.H.
43A05-1107-DR-436
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order modifying dissolution decree to reflect that a child of the marriage between K.Z. and M.H. had been born after their divorce. Citing mother’s statement in the original dissolution decree, holds that no question of paternity exists, and therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the dissolution decree at the father’s request.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2012

February 13, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bloomington Magazine, Inc. v. Mark Kiang d/b/a Mikado Restaurant, Sunbeam Corp., and Truffles 56 Degrees Incorporated
53A05-1012-SC-790
Civil. Reverses trial court’s order denying a motion to set aside judgment in favor of Mikado Restaurant Sunbeam Corp. and Truffles 56 Degrees. Finds that the trial court abused its discretion in denying a motion for the judge’s recusal and request for a special judge in light of one of the attorney’s past involvement as the judge’s 2008 election campaign chair. Remands the case for proceedings consistent with this appellate decision.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2012

February 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commissioner of the Indiana Dept. of Insurance v. Tim Black, as Husband and Personal Rep. of Kay Black, Deceased
64A05-1104-CT-240
Civil tort. Reverses trial court’s denial of commissioner’s motion to dismiss but agrees with Black that because additional documentation had accompanied the commissioner’s motion, it should be treated as a motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Trial Rule 56. Holds that Black did not provide sufficient evidence of an agreement and a genuine issue of material fact exists. Remands for further proceedings. 
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Opinions Feb. 9, 2012

February 9, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sammie L. Booker-El v. Superintendent, Indiana State Prison and all agents
10-1490
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s dismissal of Booker-El’s complaint that prison officials misappropriated funds intended by statute to be used for the inmates’ benefit without due process of law. Booker-El has no property interest in the inmates’ recreation fund.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2012

February 8, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bei Bei Shuai v. State of Indiana
49A02-1106-CR-486
Criminal. Reverses trial courts’ denial of Shuai’s request to be released on bail. The defense presented sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that Shuai is guilty of murder of her child. Remands for a determination of bail. Declines to adopt Shuai’s argument that the murder statute is ambiguous as applied to her. Affirms denial of her motion to dismiss. Judge Riley concurs in part and dissents in part.

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Opinions Feb. 7, 2012

February 7, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Wirtz, et al. v. City of South Bend
11-3811
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of the city’s motion to appeal a case arising under the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Although the city is challenging two appealable orders, the challenge is untimely. The appeal is also moot.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2012

February 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Continental Electric Co., Inc. v. Gary Community School Corporation (NFP)
45A05-1105-PL-247
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Continental Electric’s request for a preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2012

February 3, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Davis v. Kris Ockomon, et al.
10-2589
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms finding that the position of senior humane officer for the city of Anderson was a policymaking position and therefore Davis could be dismissed for political reasons. City ordinances authorized the senior humane officer to exercise policymaking discretion.
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Opinions Feb. 2, 2012

February 2, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Emergency Services Billing Corp. Inc., individually (and as agent for) agent of Westville Volunteer Fire Department v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al.
11-2381
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division at Lafayette, Judge John E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of ESBC’s suit seeking individuals involved in car accidents are responsible for the clean-up costs of hazardous substances released after accidents. A motor vehicle owned for personal use is a “consumer product in consumer use” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and thus owners/operators of personal motor vehicles are exempt from CERCLA’s response-cost provisions.
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Opinions Feb. 1, 2012

February 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mitchell & Stark Construction Company, Inc. v. Strand Associates, Inc., as successor In interest to Sieco, Inc. (NFP)
36A04-1103-CT-79
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Strand Associates.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2012

January 31, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Dale J. Atkins v. Michael Zenk
11-1891
Civil. Affirms U.S. District Court’s denial of habeas corpus petition, holding Atkins did not prove his claim that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of trial counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2012

January 30, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Johnnie S. McCaa
56A04-1107-CR-341
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s grant of McCaa’s motion to suppress evidence, holding that due to the unusual circumstances of an initial traffic stop, police did not err in asking McCaa to drive his truck to another location, where he ultimately failed field sobriety tests.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2012

January 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Holland, A Concerned Citizen for the Redevelopment of Gary v. Richard Steele, Barbara Steele, First Midwest Bank, As Successor Trustee By Way of Merger to Bank Calumet, N.A., et al.
45A03-1102-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s determination that Holland was not entitled to summary judgment on his quiet title claim, and grant of summary judgment to the bank on its trespass and slander of title claims. The trial court properly found that Holland had filed a frivolous lawsuit and awarded appropriate attorney fees. On cross-appeal, the appellate court denied the bank’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2012

January 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff Reeves v. Citizens Financial Services
93A02-1107-EX-604
Agency appeal. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision that Reeves had reached maximum medical improvement, had a permanent partial impairment of five percent and wasn’t entitled to ongoing palliative care. Reeves failed to identify what type of care he should receive and the undisputed evidence does not show that palliative care limits the extent of his impairment.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2012

January 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Long v. State of Indiana
49A02-1105-CR-381
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual substance offender. Because the master commissioner presided at Long’s guilty plea hearing, and not at a criminal trial, she did not have the authority to enter a final judgment on Long’s sentence. Marion Superior Judge Linda Brown did not err by rejecting the master commissioner’s sentence and imposing her own sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2012

January 24, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Antoine Hill v. State of Indiana
45S03-1105-PC-283
Post conviction. Holds that the appropriate standard for judging the performance of Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel is the standard set forth in Baum v. State. Further holds that Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel in this case did not violate Baum because she represented the defendant in a procedurally fair setting which resulted in a judgment of the court. Justice Sullivan concurs with separate opinion; Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2012

January 20, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Dept. of Insurance, Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Robin Everhart, Personal Rep. of the Estate of James K. Everhart, Jr.
84S01-1105-CV-282
Civil. Affirms award of statutory maximum of $1 million in excess damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund to Robin Everhart. Does not see any grounds on which to reduce the trial court’s award of $1 million in excess damages, so deciding whether to extend or halt Cahoon’s advance would seem unnecessary at best. The fund was not entitled to a set-off.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2012

January 19, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Chrysler Group, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and T.A., et al.
93S02-1109-EX-565
Agency appeal. Affirms award of benefits to Chrysler employees offered a buyout. By Chrysler’s own words — to Congress and its own employees — Enhanced Voluntary Termination of Employment Program was part of a company-wide effort intended to avert twenty-nine manufacturing plant closures, twenty-two parts depot closures, and 53,000 layoffs. The board’s conclusion on this issue of ultimate fact was reasonable.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2012

January 18, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
A.T. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1201-JV-26
Juvenile. Reverses trial court’s dispositional order and remands with instructions to vacate that portion of its order committing A.T. to the Department of Correction until his 18th birthday. Because A.T. does not meet the criteria of Indiana Code 31-37-19-9(b), a determinate commitment under that section may not be imposed.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2012

January 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lebamoff Enterprises v. Alex Hurley, in his official capacity as chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission
11-1362
Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Civil. Affirms District judge’s grant of summary judgment for the state defendants, ruling against a Fort Wayne area wine retailer’s constitutional challenge to a state law that prevents retailers from shipping wine to consumers via a motor carrier. The appellate panel found that the state statute is not preempted by federal law. Judge David Hamilton issued a separate concurring opinion.
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  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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