Opinions

Opinions July 18, 2013

July 18, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re the Guardianship of A.J.A. and L.M.A., Minor Children; J.C. v. J.B. and S.B.
48S02-1305-GU-398
Guardianship. Holds the trial court correctly vacated its original order granting grandparent visitation. The Grandparent Visitation Statute does not provide a means by which the paternal grandmother in this case may seek visitation when her son has murdered the mother of her two grandchildren.
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Opinions July 16, 2013

July 16, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and Indiana Department of Transportation
12-3187
Civil/agency action. Affirms the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Corps of Engineers, holding that the Corps evaluated all of the wetland-protection factors required in its approval of a Clean Water Act permit to construct a section of Interstate 69 about 25 miles south of Bloomington.  

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Opinions July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tuan Chu v. State of Indiana
49A04-1210-CR-495
Criminal. Affirms convictions for three counts of Class D felony evasion of income tax, three counts of Class D felony theft, and one county of Class D felony failure to remit or collect sales tax. Chu appealed on the grounds that the nonpayment penalty of $280,326.62 and his criminal convictions violated double jeopardy principles. The COA stated it was not convinced that the nonpayment penalties were punishments for double jeopardy purposes and it disagreed with Chu’s assertion that the imposition of the nonpayment penalties was conditioned on the commission of a crime.
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Opinions July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Miguel Gutierrez v. Michael R. Kermon
12-2934
Civil/wrongful arrest, excessive force. Dismisses Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Kermon’s interlocutory appeal of a denial of summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity from a wrongful arrest and excessive force lawsuit. The court held that it had no jurisdiction over the interlocutory appeal because Kermon’s argument was dependent on a disputed fact and the court will not reweigh evidence.
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Opinions July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Danny Harmon
12-1502
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of marijuana conspiracy and related offenses and 360-month sentence. A trial continuance did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and the disclosure of Harmon’s prior drug conviction did not deprive him of a fair trial. The court did not make a mistake in finding Harmon responsible for more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana.
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Opinions July 10, 2013

July 10, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Wesley Young v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-PC-753
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions July 9, 2013

July 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roger L. Peele v. Clifford Burch, individually and as Portage Police Department Chief, et al.
12-3562
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the city of Portgage and Portage Police Department chief and assistant chief on Peele’s lawsuit that he was transferred out of the detective bureau for talking to a local reporter about the loss of the election by the candidate he supported for mayor. A deposition by a police officer who held the station duty officer position before Peele and the suspicious timing of Peele’s transfer are enough to avoid summary judgment. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cincinnati Life Insurance Company v. Marjorie Beyrer
12-2365
Civil plenary. Affirms District Court rulings against Marjorie Beyrer, widow of Kevin Beyrer, in a life insurance dispute. The court found no merit on the issues she appealed after she failed to be awarded proceeds from her husband’s life insurance policy that was assigned to a third party. Dismissal of some claims for failing to comply with federal pleading standards and summary judgment in favor of Cincinnati Life on other claims was not an abuse of discretion, the court ruled.
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Opinions July 3, 2013

July 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Ronald Ritz
11-3320
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Dismisses Ritz’s appeal of the grant of summary judgment in favor of the government that Ritz’s campground is subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act and its regulations. Ritz has waived all of the new arguments he now raises for the first time on appeal by failing to present them to the District Court.
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Opinions July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tequita Ramsey v. Lightning Corporation
49A02-1209-CC-705
Civil Collection. Affirms the trial court’s judgment in decertifying the class. In this case of first impression, the COA noted it could find no logical reason to hold that a trial court may never revoke or rescind an order certifying a class. To do so would mean that once a class action is certified, the class could not be later decertified even if facts and evidence discovered afterward suggests the class should not have been certified in the first place.
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Opinions July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
N.L. v. State of Indiana
47S01-1302-JV-126
Juvenile. Reverses and remands the trial court order placing N.L. on the sex offender registry, holding that the order was neither issued in connection with an evidentiary hearing nor accompanied by findings.
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Opinions June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Brad W. Passwater v. State of Indiana
48S05-1210-PC-583
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court denial of Passwater’s petition for relief. In the decision, the court reconsiders the instructions it approved in Georgopuls v. State, 735 N.E. 2d 1138, 1143 n.3 (Ind. 2000), for juries faced with the option of finding a defendant not responsible by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill. The court concluded the instruction provided by the Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction 11.20 is better and approved its use.
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Opinions June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy W. Parish v. State of Indiana
64A03-1210-CR-438
Criminal. Finds trial court properly denied Parish’s request for counsel at public expense because he had $130,000 in equity in his house, but the facts and circumstances of the case do not warrant a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to counsel because the trial court did not advise him of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions June 26, 2013

June 26, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael Alexander v. United States of America
12-2190
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses Alexander’s malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The complaint for malicious prosecution sets forth enough plausible detail to provide adequate notice to the defendants and survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Concludes the IIED claim is timely and adequately states a claim.
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Opinions June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Loren Hamilton Fry v. State of Indiana
09S00-1205-CR-361
Criminal. Affirms denial of bail for Fry, who is charged with murder. Holds that when a defendant charged with murder or treason seeks bail, the burden is on the state, if it seeks to deny bail, to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the proof is evident or the presumption strong. Chief Justice Dickson concurs to which Justice Rush joins; Rush concurs; Justice Massa concurs in result and dissents with separate opinion; and Justice Rucker dissents with separate opinion in which Massa concurs.
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Opinions June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Howard v. Allen County Board of Zoning, Appeals and Alvin Schmucker
02A04-1301-PL-27
Civil plenary. Affirms dismissal of Howard’s petition for judicial review of the decision by the zoning board to grant a use variance for property owned by Schmucker. I.C. 36-7-4-1316 requires dismissal where no materials supporting judicial review of the petitioner’s claims are timely filed and an extension of the filing deadline is not timely requested. Finds the trial court’s determination that it lacked jurisdiction was clearly erroneous, but the statute required dismissal on non-jurisdictional grounds.
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Opinions June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gasser Chair Company, Inc. v. Marlene J. Nordengreen, Horseshoe Hammond, LLC, d/b/a Horseshoe Casino
45A03-1210-CT-435
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Horseshoe Casino and denial of Gasser Chair Co.’s motion on Nordengreen’s claim that she was injured at the casino while using a chair Gasser manufactured. Gasser has not demonstrated Horseshoe had actual knowledge the chair was dangerous. Declines to hold a premises owner’s knowledge of a dangerous condition on its premises cannot be determined without first knowing the dangerous condition was the “sole proximate case” of an injury. Remands for the trial court to resolve the remaining issues raised in Horseshoe’s third-party complaint against Gasser.
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Opinions June 20, 2013

June 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Corey L. Grier v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1212-CR-658
Criminal. Reverses sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony possession of marijuana and remands for the trial court to amend the sentencing order to comply with the plea agreement.
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Opinions June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Revas Spencer v. Tiffany Spencer
36A04-1211-PO-605
Protective order. Reverses denial of the agreed order dismissing an order of protection submitted by the Spencers to the trial court. Since the word “shall” appears in the statute regarding the trial court’s actions when the petitioner files for the dismissal of a protection order, the trial court didn’t have the discretion to deny the parties’ request to dismiss the protective order.

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Opinions June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Robert Yeftich, et al. v. Navistar Inc. and Indianapolis Casting Corp.
12-2964
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of complaint filed by group of unionized workers alleging breach of collective-bargaining agreement under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. The complaint lacked enough factual content to plead a plausible claim for breach of the duty of fair representation, which is required to pursue this litigation.
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Opinions June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: C.L.F., D.K.F., & C.S.F. (Minor Children) and M.F. (Father) & C.J.F. (Mother) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
45A03-1210-JT-416
Juvenile termination. Affirmed judgment terminating the parental rights of both the mother and father.
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Opinions June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jason Findlay v. Jonathan Lendermon
12-3881
Civil/excessive use of force. Reverses District Court denial of summary judgment in favor of Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Lendermon, holding that Findlay has not met a burden of proof showing a violation of a clearly established right when Lendermon grabbed his arm to prevent him from picking up a memory card believed to contain surveillance video of Findlay’s admission of trespassing.
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Opinions June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Re: the Name Change of Jane Doe, Petitioner, Mary Doe, a Minor, and Baby Doe, a Minor
49A02-1211-MI-894
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of mother Jane Doe’s petition to change her and her children’s names without publishing notice of the change based on the evidence in the record and current law. Mother may be able to protect some information from public record by going through Administrative Rule 9, but she did not choose to do so.

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Opinions June 12, 2013

June 12, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
John H. Mooney, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Joseph S. Mooney, Deceased v. Anonymous M.D. 4, Anonymous M.D. 5, and Anonymous Hospital
32A04-1208-CT-414
Civil tort. Reverses order dismissing with prejudice Mooney’s proposed complaint for damages in a medical malpractice action. The trial court did not have jurisdiction to dismiss under Trial Rule 41(E), and it abused its discretion when it dismissed the proposed complaint under I.C. 34-18-10-14.
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Opinions June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Judson Atkinson Candies, Incorporated v. Kenray Associates, Incorporated, Charles A. McGee and Kenneth J. McGee
12-1035, 12-1036
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann Jr.
Civil. Reverses District Court ruling that Judson Atkinson must demonstrate that it had been induced by fraud to enter into the integration clause in a settlement agreement between it and Kenray Associates, as opposed to the agreement as a whole, in order to circumvent the parol evidence rule. Indiana law does not impose such a bright-line rule.

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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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