Opinions

Opinions Nov. 15, 2011

November 15, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jesse Puckett v. State of Indiana
90A02-1104-CR-369
Criminal. Reverses sentencing decision that required Puckett to serve his entire previously suspended four-year sentence after Puckett admitted to violating his probation for Class C felony child molesting. The trial judge’s statement of reasons for the sentence is problematic. Holds it is improper when revoking probation for a trial court to find that the defendant actually committed a more serious crime than the one or ones of which he or she was originally convicted. Remands for another hearing regarding the revocation of probation.
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2011

November 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
D.E. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1103-JV-319
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication as a delinquent through D.E.’s plea agreement. D.E. didn’t demonstrate that the waivers in the plea agreement didn’t comport with Ind. Code 31-32-5-1. Placement of D.E. in a juvenile correction facility was not an abuse of discretion.
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2011

November 10, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dale Russell
10-2259
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms Dale Russell’s convictions of producing sexually explicit photographs of his minor daughters, which later crossed international boundaries, and his 38-year prison sentence.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2011

November 9, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Paternity of M.F.; N.F. v. J.T.
10A01-1101-JP-15
Juvenile. Reverses portion of the order finding mother N.F. in contempt because she presented a prima facie case that the trial court abused its discretion. Reverses order that mother pay attorney fees based on the contempt finding. Affirms portion of the order that requires N.F. buy a plane ticket for M.F. to visit her father in Florida. Judge Kirsch dissents without opinion.
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Opinions Nov. 7, 2011

November 7, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jessica J. Jelinek v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security
10-3340
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment of an administrative law judge that Jelinek’s collective mental and physical impairments were severe but not disabling. Reverses and remands for further proceedings on mother’s request for supplemental security income for daughter.
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Opinions Nov. 4, 2011

November 4, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Randall Perkins v. Jayco, Inc.
93A02-1104-EX-361
Miscellaneous. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s affirmation of a single hearing member, who had concluded that Perkins’ employer is not responsible for providing palliative care to Perkins. Holds that the board erred in concluding that a finding that Perkins had reached maximum medical improvement allows for an inference that future treatment is not needed, but held that the error was harmless as a doctor’s report indicated future medical treatments would not be causally related to Perkins’ work injury.
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Opinions Nov. 3, 2011

November 3, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Dodd and Katherine Dodd v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company
12A02-1010-CT-1414
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part summary judgment for American Family. There are disputes of material fact as to whether American Family effectively rescinded the policy and if it did not, whether it breached the policy by denying the Dodds’ claims. The trial court did not err by granting American Family’s motion for summary judgment on the claims for punitive damages and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 2, 2011

November 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Monte Murphy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1009-CR-1040
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of receiving a ballot, entered as Class A misdemeanors.
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Opinions Nov. 1, 2011

November 1, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rose Acre Farms Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co. and National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford
11-1599
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the insurers on whether they have to defend Rose Acre Farms in the antitrust complaint. The suit for which Rose Acre wants a defense makes no claim that the policy could be thought to cover.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2011

October 31, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thomas J. Ostrowski and Phyllis Ostrowski v. Everest Healthcare Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Merrillville Dialysis Center, and Family Mobile Medical Services, Inc.
45A03-1012-CT-645
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict in favor of defendants Everest Healthcare Indiana and Family Mobile Medical Services on Thomas Ostrowski’s suit for negligence against the building owner and the EMT’s employer after he was injured by a door opening and hitting his hand. The trial court did not err in giving the sudden emergency instruction or in permitting the defendants’ expert witness to testify. The lay witness did not improperly testify as an expert witness. 
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Opinions Oct. 28, 2011

October 28, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Gillespie, Dawn Gillespie and Rick's Towing and Maintenance, LLC v. Frank B. Niles and Kathryn Niles
49A05-1102-CT-70
Civil tort. Affirms denial of the Gillespies’ objection to the Nileses’ request for a pre-trial conference and refusal to dismiss the action under Indiana Trial Rule 41(E). Affirms grant of summary judgment for the Niles and denial of summary judgment for the Gillespies. The Gillespies failed to wait the required 15 days before selling Kathryn’s vehicle at auction. The trial court erred by granting summary judgment against the Gillespies individually as the judgment should be against Rick’s Towing only.
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Opinions Oct. 27, 2011

October 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joey Jennings v. State of Indiana
53A01-1010-CR-541
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. The state presented sufficient evidence to prove that he was the person who damaged another man’s truck. Reverses his sentence of 360 days probation in addition to 180 days in prison with 150 suspended. Jennings’ term of imprisonment for the purposes of Indiana Code 35-50-3-1(b) includes not only the 30-day executed portion, but also the suspended term. The trial court sentence caused him to serve more than a year of combined imprisonment and probation, which violates the statute. Remands for the trial court to recalculate his probation, not to exceed 185 days.
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Opinions Oct. 26, 2011

October 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony D. Laster v. State of Indiana
02A03-1103-CR-91
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and four counts of Class B felony robbery, holding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Laster’s motion for continuance. Remands to the trial court to revise sentence, holding that in light of the offender’s character and nature of offenses, a fully executed sentence on each count is not warranted.
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Opinions Oct. 25, 2011

October 25, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marlyn J. Barnes and Melvin B. Taylor
11-1261, 11-1602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms the resentencing of Barnes to 292 months and Taylor to 188 months for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. The District Court’s analysis evinces the perception of fair sentencing and reasonableness.
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Opinions Oct. 24, 2011

October 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Allen Buchanan v. State of Indiana
82A01-1103-CR-139
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony child molesting, holding that trial court did not err in calculating the amount of credit time to which Buchanan was entitled and did not err in finding the age of the victim as an aggravator.
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Opinions October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James K. White and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Susan Orth, Allen County Treasurer, and Lisbeth A. Blosser, Allen County Auditor

02A03-1101-MI-8
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s decision to overrule Wells Fargo’s objection to the issuance of tax deeds, holding Allen County properly served the tax sale notices upon Wells Fargo. 
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2011

October 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Beth Ann Johnson, Mother of: Emily Johnson, Deceased Minor Child v. Lance Jacobs, Steven J. Cummins, Stacy Cummings, Lawrence County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Tony Newbold, Lawrence Co. Comm.
47A01-1102-CT-35
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for all the defendants in Johnson’s suit for damages in daughter Emily’s wrongful death. Her ex-husband Eric’s intentional criminal acts were a superseding intervening cause between any alleged negligence of the defendants and Emily’s death.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2011

October 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Alan Massey v. State of Indiana
49A05-1012-PC-808
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Even though the jury was improperly instructed regarding the elements of voluntary manslaughter, Massey wasn’t entitled to the voluntary manslaughter instruction because his girlfriend’s words ending their relationship do not constitute sufficient provocation to induce sudden heat. He also failed to carry his burden to show that the sentencing issue was significant.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2011

October 18, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bruce Barton v. Zimmer Inc.
10-2212
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Zimmer Inc. on Barton’s claims for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and for interference with his right to reinstatement under the Family Medical Leave Act. Barton’s ADEA claims fail for lack of causation and any available remedy. There is also no evidence of retaliation, and he has no claim under FMLA because when Barton returned to work after his medical leave, the company assigned him equivalent duties without regard to his medical leave.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2011

October 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Hooten v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1101-CR-11
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder and Class A felony attempted murder.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2011

October 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cedric Tharpe v. State of Indiana
49A04-1101-CR-24
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder. Tharpe didn’t show the judge who presided over his case was biased or prejudiced, nor did he demonstrate his trial was unfair. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying his motion for continuance and there is sufficient evidence to support his conviction.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2011

October 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George Michael True v. State of Indiana
39A04-1102-CR-37
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. There was no serious evidentiary dispute about whether the battery was committed in the presence of the children. Instructing the jury that it could convict True of a Class A misdemeanor domestic battery instead of as a Class D felony improperly invited the jury to reach a “compromise” verdict. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 12, 2011

October 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Julie Nunley, n/k/a Waldrath v. Jeremy A. Nunley
68A04-1105-DR-269
Domestic relation. Affirms that Jeremy Nunley is entitled to a reduction of his child support obligation due to the decrease in his income due to his incarceration for Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent. Declines to create an exception to the rules set forth in Clark and Lambert for individuals incarcerated for the crime of nonsupport of a dependent.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2011

October 11, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Roger Loughry, also known as Mayorroger
10-2967
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence
Criminal. Reverses District Court’s decision to allow admission as evidence “hard core” pornography without examining it or without explaining its reasoning under Rule 403. Holds that the material was highly inflammatory and held only minimal probative value, but created extreme prejudice against Loughry. Remands to the District Court for proceedings consistent with opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2011

October 10, 2011
The state and federal appellate courts are closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day.
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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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