Opinions

Opinions Dec. 16, 2010

December 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Hurst v. State of Indiana
49A02-1004-CR-378
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence obtained upon the execution of a search warrant. To the extent the trial court concluded that Eric Thomas was inherently credible simply because he was a cooperating citizen informant, the trial court erred. A texted photo to Thomas corroborated the hearsay and there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2010

December 15, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Joshua G. Nicoson v. State of Indiana
32S04-1003-CR-150
Criminal. Affirms five-year sentence enhancement for the use of a firearm following Nicoson's convictions of criminal confinement with a deadly weapon as a Class B felony. Holds that adding these years is consistent both with the statutes in question and with the prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2010

December 14, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Presbytery of Ohio Valley, Inc., et al. v. OPC, Inc., et al.
82A02-1003-MF-339
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses summary judgment in favor of appellees-defendants OPC Inc. and others in a property dispute between a local congregation and the national church. When the neutral principles of law approach is applied correctly, the appellants prevail. Remands with instructions.

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Opinions Dec. 13, 2010

December 13, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Involuntary Commitment of G.M.
33A01-1006-MH-325
Mental health. Holds that the committing court’s conclusion for the basis of its order to commit G.M.  – that he was incapable of providing himself food, clothing, shelter, or other essential human needs - wasn’t supported by the evidence. G.M. may be determined to be gravely disabled under another definition set forth in statute. Remands for a review of G.M.’s care and treatment.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2010

December 10, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Snowberger v. State of Indiana
09A02-1005-CR-570
Criminal. Reverses revocation of probation. Snowberger’s plea agreement to nonsupport of a dependent child required the state to show his failure to pay child support to be willful and he has the ability to make payments before his probation could be revoked. The evidence was insufficient to support the revocation.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2010

December 9, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
American Bank v. City of Menasha, et al.
10-1963
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Order corrects sentence in original opinion from Nov. 29, 2010.
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Opinions, Dec. 8, 2010

December 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Forman v. Wayne Penn, et al.
33A01-1007-CT-343
Civil tort. Dismisses appeal because it isn’t certified for interlocutory appeal or authorized as an appeal from a final judgment pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 54(B).
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2010

December 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.S. v. C.S.
03A01-1003-DR-140
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order to vacate a previous order granting M.S. joint legal custody of and parenting time with S.S., a child born to C.S., M.S.’s former domestic partner of more than 10 years. M.S. appealed and raised three issues: whether the trial court erred in vacating its prior custody and visitation order; whether the trial court abused its discretion by modifying custody of S.S. without a petition to modify or a showing of a substantial change in circumstances; and whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying M.S. parenting time.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Brian D. Grigsby v. Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the Department of Transportation in his suit claiming he wasn’t hired because of his Native American heritage. Grigsby was not qualified for any of the positions he applied for.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2010

December 3, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marion County Auditor & McCord Investments v. Sawmill Creek
49A02-0912-CV-1192
Civil. Affirms order granting motion filed by Sawmill Creek to set aside a tax deed the auditor issued to McCord Investments. Follows the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones to agree with the trial court that the owner of the lot, Sawmill Creek, wasn’t provided constitutionally adequate notice of the tax sale.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2010

December 2, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Juan A. Corona-Gonzalez a/k/a Juan R. Ramirez
09-3993
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Criminal. Reverses sentence for drug convictions and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. There is a substantial chance that the District Court’s misapprehension of whether Corona-Gonzalez was deported and returned to the country illegally played a significant role in the adjudication of his sentence. Remands to allow the District Court to reassess the sentence free of the factual misapprehension.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2010

December 1, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
William R.D. Britt v. State of Indiana
02A03-1004-CR-253
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony robbery, Class D felony criminal recklessness, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in refusing to allow Britt’s counsel to introduce evidence of his brother Brandon’s prior robbery conviction.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2010

November 30, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert J. Hall v. State of Indiana
06A05-1003-CR-187
Criminal. Reverses conviction of operating a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic offender as a Class D felony. The trial court committed fundamental error in its instruction on the mens rea element of the Habitual Traffic Violator Statute. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2010

November 29, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
American Bank v. City of Menasha, et al.
10-1963
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Reverses judgment granting a stay requested by Menasha to give American Bank certain records available pursuant to Wisconsin’s Public Records Law. The bank, a plaintiff in a class-action suit charging the city violated federal securities law, requested the documents after the suit was filed. The stay is not a stay of a discovery order and can only be an injunction; only a stay of discovery is authorized by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998.
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Opinions Nov. 24, 2010

November 24, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Samuel Neal, Delores Neal and Hometown Transmissions, Inc. v. William J. Cure, et al.
49A04-0908-CV-468
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the Cures on the Neals’ claims of environmental contamination under the Environmental Legal Act, nuisance, trespass, and negligence. The designated evidence does not, in light of the Cures' lack of involvement in or knowledge of Masterwear’s actions, give rise to a genuine issue of material fact regarding the Cures' liability for nuisance, trespass, negligence, or an ELA violation.
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Opinions Nov. 23, 2010

November 23, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Anodyne Therapy, LLC
10-2327
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Affirms the judgment of the District Court that granted Anodyne’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $72,747. The award was based on 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), which allows attorneys’ fees to be awarded to prevailing parties in Lanham Act suits, but only in “exceptional cases.” Nightingale contended no award of attorneys’ fees was justified because the case was not “exceptional.” Also grants Anodyne’s motion for fees and costs pursuant to Rule 38 of the appellate rules. Dismisses as moot Anodyne’s motion to strike Nightingale’s brief and appendix.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2010

November 22, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Levie S. Jackson v. State of Indiana
79A02-0912-CR-1230
Criminal. Affirms convictions of seven counts of Class C felony forgery, six counts of Class D felony theft, and finding Jackson is a habitual offender The trial court did not err in denying Jackson’s motion to sever. Because he did not present any explanation of how he was prejudiced by the timing of the additional charge, the trial court declined to reverse the habitual offender enhancement.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2010

November 19, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Florence R. Lacy-McKinney v. Taylor Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp.
71A03-0912-CV-587
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. on its action to foreclose on Lacy-McKinney’s mortgage that was insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Views the affirmative defense of noncompliance with HUD regulations as the failure of the mortgagee to satisfy a HUD-imposed condition precedent to foreclosure. To hold otherwise would circumvent the public policy of HUD. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2010

November 18, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
David N. Rain and Paramount International Inc. v. Rolls-Royce Corp.
10-1290
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms partial summary judgment in favor of Rolls-Royce on Rain’s claim for breach of contract by breaching a non-disparagement provision in a settlement agreement after Rolls-Royce filed a Texas lawsuit involving Rain and Paramount. Affirms the judgment following a bench trial on breach of contract in favor of Rolls-Royce after Rolls-Royce asked Rain to leave an event.
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2010

November 17, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Rosalio Cruz-Rea and Zoyla Garcia-Rea
09-3591, 10-1355
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences of Cruz-Rea for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, and convictions of and sentences for Garcia-Rea for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The government didn’t abuse its discretion in determining that the government laid sufficient foundation for an officer’s voice identification testimony under Fed. Evid. Rule 901(b)(5). Affirms in all other respects.

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Opinions Nov. 16, 2010

November 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin L. Hampton v. State of Indiana
84A04-1002-PC-122
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. There was no error in omitting the requested sentence and appellate counsel did not fail to provide effective assistance.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2010

November 15, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lorenzo Tavarez
09-3879
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of distributing 50 grams or more methamphetamine. Tavarez failed to show that the confidential informant was available only to the government. The District Court therefore did not err by refusing the missing witness instruction. Concludes that the jury could reasonably reach its guilty verdict on the circumstantial evidence presented here.
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Opinions Nov. 12, 2010

November 12, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of William J. Rawls
49S00-0908-DI-355
Discipline. Disbars Rawls for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.16(d), 8.1(a), 8.1(b), 8.4(b), and 8.4(c). Rawls has demonstrated a pattern of neglect of his clients' cases, resulting in adverse dispositions, suspension of one client's driver's license, a missed opportunity to settle, and undue delay.
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Opinions Nov. 11, 2010

November 11, 2010
The courts are closed today in observance of Veterans Day. 
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2010

November 10, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott D. Wells v. Herman Bud Bernitt, et al.
53A01-0910-CV-494
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the Bernitts on Wells’ claim against them for defamation because there was no admissible evidence before the court to establish actual malice, an element of defamation. Affirms summary judgment in favor of J.D. Maxwell and Travis Coryea as to Wells’ claim for negligent and intentional torts finding the evidence establishes the officers didn’t use excessive force. Affirms summary judgment for Wells on the Bernitts’ cross appeal alleging abuse of process.
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  1. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  2. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

  3. The story that you have shared is quite interesting and also the information is very helpful. Thanks for sharing the article. For more info: http://www.treasurecoastbailbonds.com/

  4. 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...

  5. 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

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