Opinions

Opinions Oct. 20, 2014

October 20, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Kenneth Schmitt
13-2894
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Criminal. Affirms conviction for possessing a firearm while being a felon and sentence of 110 months in prison with three years of supervised release. Finds police officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on warrantless searches because the officers were doing a protective sweep to secure the premises when they unlocked the basement door and searched the basement where the AK-15 semi-automatic assault rifle was found. Rules although the District Court erred in admitting evidence of Schmitt’s conviction for possession of methamphetamine, the error was harmless. And concludes District Court did not err in applying a four-level enhancement to Schmitt’s base offense level.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2014

October 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dominic Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1403-CR-125
Criminal. Affirms convictions for auto theft, a Class C felony, and resisting law enforcement, a Class A felony.
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Opinions Oct. 16, 2014

October 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana State Ethics Commission, Office of Inspector General, and David Thomas, in his Official Capacity as Inspector General v. Patricia Sanchez
49S02-1402-PL-80
Civil plenary. Affirms State Ethics Commission’s decision that Sanchez’s conduct – keeping several items that were state property after she was fired from the Department of Workforce Development – ran afoul of an administrative rule and that she should be barred from future state executive branch employment. Double jeopardy does not bar the proceeding before the commission, the criminal court’s probable cause determination is not binding upon the commission, and there is substantial independent evidence to support the commission’s decision.
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Opinions Oct. 15, 2014

October 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Randy M. Swisher v. Porter County Sheriff’s Dept., et al.
13-3602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of the defendants on Swisher’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint that he was denied medical care during his nine-month stint in jail. The magistrate judge, while fully crediting the plaintiff’s testimony at an evidentiary hearing, erred in dismissing Swisher’s suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2014

October 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brandon Earthman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1404-CR-147
Criminal. Affirms 12-year sentence for Class B felony robbery.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2014

October 13, 2014
There are no opinions Monday because the courts are closed in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2014

October 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Susan A. Snyder v. Town of Yorktown, Delaware County Surveyor, Delaware County Drainage Board, Randall Miller & Associates, Inc., and Watson Excavating, Inc.
18A02-1405-CT-332
Civil tort. Reverses grant of the defendants’ motion to dismiss Snyder’s complaint regarding inverse condemnation because her complaint sufficiently states a claim for it. Affirms dismissal as it relates to her claim for trespass because the allegations in her complaint fail to establish any circumstances under which she would be entitled to relief for trespass. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 9, 2014

October 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stacey D. Cox v. State of Indiana
29A05-1312-CR-637
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony involuntary manslaughter and Class B misdemeanor operating a child care home without a license. The state presented sufficient evidence that Cox operated a child care home under I.C. 12-17.2-5-28.6.
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Opinions Oct. 8, 2014

October 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney A. Richard v. State of Indiana
46A05-1312-CR-628
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public park, but reverses Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. The state did not offer sufficient evidence to prove he committed dealing within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. Remands for the trial court to enter a conviction as a Class B felony and resentence him on that count.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2014

October 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Evansville Courier & Press and Rita Ward v. Vanderburgh County Health Department
82S04-1401-PL-49
Civil plenary. Reverses determination by trial court and finds death certificates which include the cause of death are public records. Holds a plain reading of the state statute denies public viewing of death information at the Indiana State Department of Health but gives private citizens access to death records at the local county health department. Remands for summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor and to determine award of attorney fees.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2014

October 6, 2014
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Opinions Oct. 3, 2014

October 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eve Carson v. Stacy Palombo
49A02-1312-PL-1052
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Palombo on Carson’s claims of defamation per se, defamation per quod and invasion of privacy by false light based upon Palombo’s comments regarding a YouTube video Carson posted criticizing the investigation of her sister-in-law’s decades-old murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Carson’s motion to amend her complaint to include facts she knew but omitted at the time her original complaint was filed to defeat a grant of summary judgment in Palombo’s favor. There is no genuine issue of material fact that Carson’s claimed damages were incurred as a consequence of alleged defamatory statements, and in the light of other videos Carson posted on YouTube, she was cast in essentially the same light as Palombo’s comment.
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Opinions Oct. 2, 2014

October 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Campbell v. State of Indiana
89A04-1312-CR-634
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the order granting the state’s motion to withdraw from guilty plea. By refusing to testify at his co-defendant’s trial, Campbell failed to tender the consideration specifically contemplated in the plea agreement. Thus, it would deprive the state of its end of the bargain to sentence Campbell in accordance with a contract that he did not fully satisfy.
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Opinions Oct. 1, 2014

October 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Corbin v. State of Indiana
75S03-1401-CR-13
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of a motion to dismiss a charge of attempted child seduction and remands for further proceedings. Whether Corbin’s Facebook communications propositioning a 16-year-old student for sex constituted the required substantial step toward the crime is a question not ripe for dismissal on interlocutory appeal. Justices found the charges match the statutory elements sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss at this time.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2014

September 30, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gersh Zavodnik v. Irene Harper
49A04-1307-PL-316
Civil plenary. Denies transfer to Zavodink’s appeal of the dismissal of his appeal for failure to file a timely brief and appendix. Offers guidance to courts on how to deal with prolific, abusive litigants.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2014

September 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan L. Good v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA.
20A03-1401-MF-14
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo and the subsequent judgment of foreclosure. The bank has not shown its status as holder of the promissory note signed by Good for purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2014

September 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shacare Terry v. Community Health Network, Inc.
49A04-1312-PL-630
Civil plenary.  Affirms dismissal of Terry’s claim of breach of duty against Community Hospital, but reverses dismissal of intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The breach of duty claim is, in substance, a medical malpractice claim, so the court did not have jurisdiction because it had not been submitted to the medical review panel yet. The trial court had subject matter over Terry’s emotional distress claim.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2014

September 25, 2014
The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Scott Logan v. State of Indiana
20S05-1405-CR-339
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony child molesting and six-year sentence. Although the trial court technically complied with Criminal Rule 4(C), Logan’s 1,291-day delay between the filing of the charge and the beginning of his trial violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Orders Logan released from incarceration and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert L. Hauck and Mark Wood v. City of Indianapolis
49A04-1403-PL-136
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indianapolis on Hauck’s and Wood’s complaint regarding the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s failure to promote them to captain. The word “endeavor” as used in the ordinance means to “attempt to,” and the plaintiffs failed to show the city did not maintain proportional representation of former Marion County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Indianapolis Police Department officers throughout the divisions and appointed ranks of IMPD as contemplated by the revised code.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2014

September 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Branham Corporation v. Newland Resources, LLC; Samuel Sutphin; White River Funding Corp.; et al; Thomas N. Eckerle; Thomas N. Eckerle Prof. Corp. v. The Branham Corporation
06A05-1311-CT-572
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court’s summary judgment order in favor of the defendants. Reverses the order dismissing attorney Thomas Eckerle without prejudice and remands for entry of summary judgment in favor of Eckerle. Finds the trial court correctly determined the defendants were entitled to summary judgment because Branham filed its complaint for nonpayment of damages after the two-year statute of limitations had run.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2014

September 22, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Trezanay M. Atkins
49S00-1306-DI-435.
Attorney discipline. Suspends Atkins for two years without automatic reinstatement, finding she violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness; and 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
 
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2014

September 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
City of Mitchell v. Randy Phelix
47A01-1402-PL-88
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of its complaint for a declaratory judgment related to former Mitchell city policeman Randy Phelix’s claim for medical expenses due to disabilities resulting from dismantling methamphetamine labs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred when it ruled that Phelix was entitled to have the city pay his medical bills under I.C. 36-8-4-5 despite the worker’s compensation carrier’s denial of his claim.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2014

September 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Frank Greene
49S02-1403-PC-172
Post conviction. Reverses grant of post-conviction relief, which would have reduced Greene’s Class B felony criminal confinement conviction to a Class D felony. Greene did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel due to his attorneys’ failure to present allegedly controlling precedent from this court. Greene mischaracterizes the application of Long v. State.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2014

September 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert P. Benavides v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1405-PC-318
Post conviction. Affirms dismissal of petition for writ of state habeas corpus.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2014

September 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Willie Jenkins v. Mary Jenkins
49A02-1403-DR-132
Domestic relation. Reverses grant of Mary Jenkins’ motion to vacate a contempt hearing. It was not in the interests of justice for the trial court to ignore its rule of allowing 15 days to respond and granting her motion prior to allowing Willie Jenkins time for response. Remands for further proceedings.
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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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