Opinions

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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Opinions March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
David S. Delagrange v. State of Indiana
49S04-1304-CR-249
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class C felony attempted child exploitation, finding sufficient evidence supports them. The state did not need to show Delagrange actually succeeded in capturing images of uncovered genitals, just that he took a “substantial step” toward doing so.
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Opinions March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eddie Horton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1307-CR-323
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting.
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Opinions March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Leonard Thomas v. Keith Butts, et al.
12-2902
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Vacates dismissal of Thomas’ lawsuit against prison officials alleging deliberate indifference to his epilepsy in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The judge dismissed the suit without determining if Thomas was at fault for not paying the initial filing fee.
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Opinions March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014
 Indiana Supreme Court
Joseph D. Hardiman and Jaketa L. Patterson, as Co-Administrators of the Estate of Britney R. Meux, Deceased v. Jason R. Cozmanoff
45S03-1309-CT-619
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court’s ordering the limited stay of discovery regarding only Cozmanoff in the estate’s wrongful death lawsuit against him and requiring him to answer the complaint. The civil suit was brought while criminal charges for Meux’s death were still pending. Notes the ruling does not mean the trial court was constitutionally required to impose the stay but that it did not abuse its discretion by so doing. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions March 12, 2014

March 12, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cindy Golden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
12-3901
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Golden’s complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) and denies her motion to certify questions of state law to the Indiana Supreme Court. She alleges in her lawsuit that State Farm owes its insureds a duty to explain at the time a policy is issued that in-house counsel may be used to defend its insureds against third-party claims.
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Opinions March 11, 2014

March 11, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Adrian Lotaki
32S01-1403-CR-151
Criminal. Reverses sentencing order, holding the trial court erred in calculating credit time for a battery committed while Adrian Lotaki was serving a sentence in the Department of Correction. Because sentences for crimes committed in prison are by statute served consecutively, the credit time awarded against the battery conviction effectively enabled Lotaki to serve part of his consecutive sentence concurrently. Remands for resentencing.
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Opinions March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff L. Ewing and Renee Ewing, Household Finance Corporation III v. U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for the Structured Asset Securities Corp., Series 2005-GEL4
50A03-1308-MF-327
Mortgage foreclosure. Finds summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank was appropriate. Also affirms U.S. Bank’s motion to dismiss the Ewings’ supplemental complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Ewings argued the bank failed to act in good faith during the settlement discussions as required by the Alternative Dispute Resolution rules. The COA held the settlement talks were not a mediation, so the A.D.R. rules did not apply.
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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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