Opinions

Opinions April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Matthew P. Wilhoite v. State of Indiana
34A04-1303-CR-138
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony “conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery.” Wilhoite argued his conviction is invalid because a person may not be convicted of “conspiring to attempt” any crime. Although the state referenced a non-existent crime when it listed “conspiracy to commit attempted robbery” on the charging information as the crime committed, Wilhoite has not demonstrated fundamental error.
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Opinions April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shelly Bailey v. Lance Bailey
25A04-1309-DR-452
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s modification of physical custody of the two children. Finds the Parallel Parenting Time Order did not enable the court to modify the children’s custody to joint custody especially since neither parent petitioned for a change in custody. Judge John Baker dissented, writing that, as instructed by the Parallel Parenting Time Order, the trial court was trying to act in the best interest of the children and to prevent any further destructive behavior by the parents.
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Opinions April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Old Utica School Preservation, Inc., Kenneth Morrison, Scott Sandefur, and Pamela Sandefur v. Utica Township, John Durbin, Utica Township Trustee, Jacobs Well, Inc., Kevin Williar, John Posey, et al.
10A05-1308-PL-388
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Utica Township defendants and remands for proceedings on their claims. Old Utica School Preservation plaintiffs are entitled under the public standing doctrine to proceed with their claim that the township violated language in a quitclaim deed requiring the former school to be operated by the township solely for park and recreation purposes. Plaintiffs sued when the township leased the building for purposes including temporary housing or a halfway house for criminal offenders.
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Opinions April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Taylor v. State of Indiana
45A03-1310-CR-406
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition for expungement. Determines that the word “shall” in Section 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement. And such an interpretation does not render Section 35-38-9-9(d) meaningless because that section applies to other parts of the statute where the trial court does have discretion to deny a petition for expungement.
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Opinions April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
David Bleeke v. Bruce Lemmon, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction; Thor R. Miller, as Chairman of the Indiana Parole Board; et al.
02S05-1305-PL-364
Civil plenary. Reverses the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the parole board with respect to Bleeke’s additional parole conditions 4, 5, 17, 19 and 20, and remands with instructions that it enter an order enjoining the parole board from enforcing those conditions. Affirms the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the parole board with respect to Bleeke’s claims about the constitutionality of the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring Program.
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Opinions April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marcus Henderson
13-2483
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress and conviction of being a drug user in possession of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(3). The record is replete with specific and articulable facts which the SWAT officers reasonably relied upon to conclude that the officers or others faced a dangerous situation without a protective sweep of his house.
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Opinions April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ball State University v. Jennifer Irons, In re the Marriage of: Jennifer Irons, Wife, and Scott Irons, Husband
45A03-1307-DR-296
Domestic relation. Dismisses Ball State’s appeal of the order to release the college transcript of Jennifer Irons’ child. This appeal was not properly brought under Appellate Rule 14(A)(3). Denies Jennifer Irons’ request for appellate attorney fees. Judge Brown concurs in part and dissents in part.
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Opinions April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Randall Langford v. State of Indiana (NFP)
30A01-1309-CR-431
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
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Opinions April 10, 2014

April 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
HRC Hotels, LLC v. Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals Division II of Marion County, Indiana, Jeffrey R. Baumgarth and The Myers Y. Cooper Company
49A04-1307-PL-313
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of HRC Hotels’ amended petition for judicial review, which substituted I-465 LLC as the real party in interest instead of HRC Hotels. The standing requirements under I.C. 36-7-4-1603 are procedural rather than jurisdictional, so HRC Hotels’ alleged lack of standing when the petition was filed does not deprive the trial court of subject-matter jurisdiction. It should substitute I-465 LLC as a real party in interest and hear the merits of the petition for judicial review. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions April 9, 2014

April 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Order for the Payment of Attorney Fees and Reimbursement of Expenses, State of Indiana v. Jeffrey Cook
48A02-1307-MI-615
Miscellaneous. Affirms order the state should pay Pendleton Correctional Facility inmate Jeffrey Cook’s appellate counsel $5,232.35 in attorney fees and expenses. I.C. 33-37-2-4, which recognizes the financial burden placed on counties containing state correctional facilities, and shifts the burden to the state to pay both trial and appellate costs.
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Opinions April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael A. Ney v. Susan A. Ney (Beery) (NFP)
49A02-1309-DR-836
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of Michael Ney’s motion to decrease his child support obligation.
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Opinions April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Stephanie L. Donelli
13-2548
Criminal. Affirms 60-month sentence for convictions of wire fraud and tax evasion. Donelli’s claim that the trial court erred by failing to consider her mental illness, bipolar II disorder, as a principal argument in mitigation was rejected because she failed to present the diagnosis as a principal argument in mitigation, and because she waived the argument by failing to object to her sentence apart from the fact that it was above the guidleline range.
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Opinions April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Thursday.

United States of America v. Lori Hargis
12-2153
Criminal. Affirms 60-month sentence for Lori Hargis’ conviction of conspiracy to use fire to commit wire fraud for her role in recruiting a man to set fire to her home to collect insurance proceeds. Circuit judges rejected Hargis’ argument that the District Court erred when it adjusted her sentence from the guideline range of 15 to 21 months in prison, finding that the judge adequately explained his rationale for imposing sentence.
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Opinions April 3, 2014

April 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey M. Miller and Cynthia S. Miller v. Federal Express Corporation and 500 Festival, Inc.
49A02-1307-PL-619
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Federal Express and 500 Festival. The panel held that the entities were immune from the Millers’ claims of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress due to online comments critical to his leadership of Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. The entities are immune to the claims under the Communications Decency Act, which recognizes them as providers, not publishers, of Internet content.
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Opinions April 2, 2014

April 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
David S. Healey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A01-1308-MI-368
Miscellaneous. Affirms the trial court’s order directing law enforcement and the Indiana Department of Correction to ensure that Healey’s information was no longer published on the Sex and Violent Offender Registry. Healey had appealed the order, arguing the trial court should have stated the 1995 amendment to the Sex and Violent Offender Registration Act was ex post facto punishment as applied to him and the trial court should have specifically noted any extraneous statements that it had made.
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Opinions April 1, 2014

April 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Bryant E. Wilson v. State of Indiana
27S02-1309-CR-584
Criminal. Reverses trial court denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence and remands for resentencing. Holds that the Indiana Code does not authorize a sentence to be imposed in part as consecutive and in part as concurrent, and orders Wilson resentenced on a rape conviction for an aggregate term not to exceed 50 years in prison.
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Opinions March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Randall Causey, 13-1321
Criminal. Affirms Causey’s convictions and 108-month sentence for one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1349 and eight counts of aiding and abetting the commission of, and committing the offenses of, wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343. Ruled that the District Court did not abused its discretion in admitting evidence and that the District Court erred in barring the defense witness from giving expert testimony while allowing the expert testimony by the government witness. Also finds the District Court properly applied two-level sentencing enhancement. 
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Opinions March 28, 2014

March 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re Paternity of D.T. (Minor Child) Diamond T. Parks (Mother) v. Deante Rashon Tate (Father)
48A05-1309-JP-486
Juvenile. Reverses award of custody to father, who resided in Indiana, from mother, who lived in Mississippi. The trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court adjudicated the custody request of father as part of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act cause of action, even though the UIFSA specifies that the court lacks jurisdiction to make such a determination absent a stipulation between the parties. 
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Opinions March 27, 2014

March 27, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Christopher Smith v. State of Indiana
18S02-1304-CR-297
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B misdemeanor failure to report a student’s rape allegation to DCS or local law enforcement based on the statute that requires a school to report instances of child abuse. The reporting requirement is not unconstitutionally vague and there is sufficient evidence to sustain Smith’s conviction. Justices Rucker and Chief Justice Dickson dissent in a separate opinion.
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Opinions March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of I.P., T.P. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, and Child Advocates, Inc.
49S02-1402-JT-81
Juvenile. Reverses termination of parental rights. Finds the procedure used violated the father T.P.’s due process rights. The magistrate who presided over the termination hearing resigned before reporting recommended findings and conclusions to the judge. Another magistrate, without holding a new evidentiary hearing, reviewed the record and reported recommended findings and conclusions to the judge, who ordered the mother’s parental rights terminated. Holds Trial Rule 63(A) is inapplicable.
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Opinions March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Joanna S. Robinson v. State of Indiana
20S04-1307-CR-471
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of Robinson’s motion to suppress. Agrees with trial court in giving deference to deputy’s testimony that he initiated the traffic stop after observing Robinson drive off the roadway twice even though the video from the deputy’s in-car camera only shows Robinson weaving onto the fog line. Rucker dissents, asserting giving credit to the deputy’s testimony over the video amounts to reweighing evidence.
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Opinions March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. I.T.
20S03-1309-JV-583
Juvenile. Affirms juvenile court’s dismissal of a delinquency petition against I.T. that had been filed on the sole basis of a polygraph examination taken while he was receiving treatment as a condition of probation for a delinquency adjudication for what would be Class B felony child molesting if committed by an adult. Finds that the limited immunity in the Juvenile Mental Health Statute, I.C. § 31-32-2-2.5, provides a safe harbor that prevents the state from using statements during court-ordered therapy as the sole basis for juvenile delinquency petitions.  Concludes the state may appeal a juvenile court order that suppresses evidence, if doing so terminates the proceeding.
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Opinions March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nathan Wertz v. Asset Acceptance, LLC.
71A03-1305-CC-175
Civil Collection. Affirms trial court’s dismissal of Wertz’s counterclaim against Asset Acceptance, LLC. Finds that the Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code’s licensure requirement does not apply to Asset because it does not have a physical location in Indiana. Since Asset is not required to obtain a license under IUCCC, Wertz’s claims that Asset violated the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cannot stand. 
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Opinions March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Zachary Mulholland v. Marion County Election Board
13-3027
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of Mulholland’s lawsuit to enjoin Marion County Election Board proceedings relating to a slating violation and to enjoin the future enforcement of I.C. 3-14-1-2(a), the anti-slating law. The election board’s investigation is too preliminary a proceeding to warrant Younger abstention, at least in the wake of Sprint Communications, Inc. v. Jacobs, 134 S. Ct. 584 (2013). Even if Younger abstention were theoretically available after Sprint, the previous final federal judgment against the defendant Election Board holding the same statute facially unconstitutional would still amount to an extraordinary circumstance making Younger abstention inappropriate.
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Opinions March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988, Inc. v. Morgan County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals and Morgan County Assessor
49T10-1201-TA-4
Tax. Affirms board of tax review’s determination that the Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988 Inc. was not entitled to either a fraternal beneficiary association exemption or a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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