Opinions

Opinions March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jimel Pimpton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1308-CR-676
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections.
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Opinions March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Carol Y. Woodard
12-3363
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Finds the District Court did not abuse its discretion by not ordering a second competency evaluation because the court reached a reasonable conclusion after it reviewed a previous psychological evaluation, considered the advice of two mental health professionals, and considered Woodard’s interactions with her attorney. Finds the District Court violated the ex post facto clause at sentencing by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines. Remands for resentencing.
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Opinions March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Indiana, et. al.
49A04-1302-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court order upholding an administrative order that Commonwealth take certain actions to cure its violations of the Rate Statute, the Unsafe Business Practices Statute and the Gross Premium Tax Statute. Concludes that substantial evidence supports the IDOI’s determination that Commonwealth violated the statutes and that the cures imposed by the IDOI for Commonwealth’s violations of these statutes are authorized by the Cure Statute.
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Opinions March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph and M. Carmen Wysocki v. Barbara A. and William T. Johnson, both individually and as Trustees of the Barbara A. Johnson Living Trust
45A03-1309-CT-385
Civil tort. Affirms denial of the Wysockis’ request for attorney fees and additional damages under the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act. The Wysockis were not victims of the criminal offense of fraud because the Johnsons were not charged with that crime in relation to the sale of the house, much less convicted of it in a court of law. In the absence of such a conviction, the CVRA does not apply.
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Opinions Feb. 28, 2014

February 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mary L. Anderson v. Wayne Post 64, American Legion Corp.
49A05-1309-CT-442
Civil tort. Affirms order setting aside its default judgment against Wayne Post 64, American Legion Corp. Anderson failed to serve the American Legion in a manner authorized by the Indiana Trial Rules.
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Opinions Feb. 27, 2014

February 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John A. Peters III
12-3830
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence discovered during the search of a car in which Peters was a passenger. The District Court committed no error in crediting the testimony of an experienced police officer who, after observing two cars traveling in tandem for a period of time, said he credibly believed that the trailing car was approximately 75 feet behind the lead car at a speed of approximately 60 miles-per-hour. If an officer knowing these facts could reasonably conclude that this combination of speed and distance violated Indiana law, that is all that is necessary to support probable cause.
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Opinions Feb. 26, 2014

February 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robin Harper v. State of Indiana
49A04-1305-CR-222
Criminal. Reverses Harper’s Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction. Officers Gillespie and Hartman unlawfully entered Harper’s residence, therefore, the officers were not engaged in the lawful execution of their duties at the time they arrested Harper and then attempted to remove her wedding ring in preparation for booking.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2014

February 25, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Kindred, Thomas Kindred, and Sam Kindred v. Betty Townsend and Harmon Crone
60A01-1304-PL-156
Civil plenary. Dismisses interlocutory appeal as untimely. Finds the arguments the Kindreds raised in appealing the denial of their motion to dissolve were based on information that was available when the trial court granted the preliminary injunction six months prior. Still, the COA notes it has ruled only that the Kindreds forfeited their right to an interlocutory appeal by failing to timely file. The Kindreds may yet attack the trial court’s interlocutory orders on appeal from the final judgment.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2014

February 24, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
University of Notre Dame v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, et. al. and Jane Doe 1, et al.
13-3853
Civil. Affirms on interlocutory appeal denial of an injunction blocking enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, holding that the requirement that the university submit a form opting out of paying for contraception services for women did not trigger provision of those services which insurers are required to provide under the law. Circuit Judge Joel Flaum dissented, holding that Notre Dame has shown a likelihood of success on the merits and he would therefore reverse the order denying the injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2014

February 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of: TLC, a Child Alleged to be a Delinquent Child v. State of Indiana
60A01-1308-JV-377
Juvenile. Affirms commitment of TLC to the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds TLC did not receive unequal treatment and his due process rights were not violated. Rules that the juvenile court had an adequate factual basis to conclude that TLC was guilty of what would be the crime of resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor, if committed by an adult. Concludes the state sufficiently proved that TLC committed what would have been battery, a Class B misdemeanor, had it been committed by an adult. 
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Opinions Feb. 20, 2014

February 20, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
James T. Mitchell v. 10th and The Bypass, LLC and Elway, Inc.
53S01-1303-PL-222
Civil plenary. Evidence obtained after the entry of an order granting a motion for partial summary judgment may not form the basis for vacating that order on the grounds that a non-final order is subject to revision at any time before the entry of a final judgment. Also concludes that relief from judgment under Ind. Trial Rules is not limited only to final judgments.
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Opinions Feb. 19, 2014

February 19, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. William Coats
49S02-1305-CR-328
Criminal. Remands to the trial court with an order to commit Coats to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction. I.C. 35-36-3-1(b) requires trial courts to commit defendants found not competent to stand trial to the DMHA for competency restoration services.
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Opinions Feb. 18, 2014

February 18, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tanner Piotrowski v. State of Indiana
46A03-1306-CR-222
Criminal. Affirms denial of Piotrowski’s motion to exclude any evidence or testimony from the state Department of Toxicology. After reviewing the relevant statutes, finds that the Legislature intended I.C. 10-20-2-7 to effectuate a transfer of control of the Department of Toxicology from the Indiana University School of Medicine to the state of Indiana. Although the Legislature transferred rulemaking authority to the state, it did not specifically require the state to promulgate a new set of rules regarding breath testing and gave the state discretion to rely upon the rules previously in existence. The court did not err when it denied Piotrowski’s motion to exclude.
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2014

February 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rakiea McCaskill v. State of Indiana
49A02-1306-CR-480
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor intimidation. The state did not provide sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McCaskill committed Class A misdemeanor intimidation as charged. The state did produce sufficient evidence that McCaskill committed Class B misdemeanor harassment. Remands to the trial court with instructions to vacate McCaskill’s judgment of conviction for intimidation and to enter a judgment of conviction for McCaskill for Class B misdemeanor harassment.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2014

February 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Teaching Our Posterity Success, Inc. v. Indiana Department of Education and Indiana State Board of Education
49A05-1308-PL-386
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of Teaching Our Posterity Success’ petition for judicial review challenging a decision by the Department of Education and State Board of Education to remove TOPS from its list of approved supplemental educational services providers. Remands to the DOE for the entry of statutorily mandated findings and conclusions to accompany its final order regarding TOPS.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2014

February 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Brian Yost v. Wabash College, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity- Indiana Gamma Chapter at Wabash College, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Nathan Cravens
54S01-1303-CT-161
Civil tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment for the campus fraternity but affirms summary judgment for the college and national fraternity organization in the personal injury action brought by a fraternity pledge seeking damages for injuries sustained in an incident at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Holds that the designated evidence shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that Wabash College and the national fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., are each entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law, but that as to the local fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity – Indiana Gamma Chapter at Wabash College, there remain genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment. Justice Rucker concurs in part and dissents in part. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Feb. 12, 2014

February 12, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of S.D., Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services, J.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
49S05-1309-JC-585
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that S.D. is a child in need of services. S.D. and her siblings were legitimately in need of services when DCS filed its petitions. But by the fact-finding hearing, mother had voluntarily addressed all but one of those concerns to the trial court’s satisfaction. In view of that judgment, the remaining evidence fails to show that mother was likely to need the court’s coercive intervention to complete that final item — and when that coercion is not necessary, the state may not intrude into a family’s life.
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Opinions Feb. 11, 2014

February 11, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council; VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council
82S01-1306-CT-436 and 82S01-1306-PL-437
Civil. Strikes down an amended Evansville smoking ban that exempted the Aztar riverboat casino in a 3-2 decision. Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Mark Massa and Steven David held that the exception violated Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution because it conferred a privilege on the casino that wasn’t extended to similarly situated bars, taverns and clubs. Dissenting Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker found the casino’s inherent characteristics of producing a large flow of revenue and attracting a mostly out-of-town clientele placed it in a distinct group from the tavern and club establishment that challenged the exemption.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2014

February 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timmothy Williams
13-1260
Criminal. Vacates sentence for convictions related to identity theft and remands to the District Court. In accordance with the ruling in Peugh v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2072, 2078 (2013), sentencing guidelines that were stricter than those in place at the time Williams committed the crime were improperly applied when he was sentenced to 56 months in prison for identity theft convictions plus 24 months for aggravated identity theft. Remands to sentence Williams to 30 to 37 months in prison – the range under the guidelines in place at the time of his offenses.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2014

February 7, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gary W. Helman v. Bruce Duhaime, et al.
12-3428
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of defendants in a civil rights suit alleging police used excessive force when they shot Gary Helman, ending an armed standoff that began when authorities attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest at his home in Cromwell. Helman’s § 1983 complaint cannot survive summary judgment because he pleaded guilty to a class D felony count of resisting law enforcement in which evidence showed authorities only fired after Helman reached for his firearm.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2014

February 6, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, City of Indianapolis, Department of Waterworks, and City of Indianapolis v. National Trust Insurance Company and FCCI Insurance Company a/s/o Ultra Steak, Inc., et. al.
49S04-1301-PL-8
Civil plenary. Holds that a private, for-profit company under the circumstances of this case is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from a fire that destroyed a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. Accordingly, affirms the trial court’s rulings that Veolia is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity and that the city is not entitled to statutory sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from an inadequate water supply in the hydrants near the restaurant. The city is entitled to common law sovereign immunity, so reverses holding that the city is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity.
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Opinions Feb. 5, 2014

February 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kendale L. Adams, et al. v City of Indianapolis
12-1874
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. In a consolidated appeal, affirms entry of summary judgment for the city on the officers’ disparate-treatment claims because the plaintiffs had not produced any evidence that using the test results to make promotions was a pretext for discrimination. Affirms dismissal of new claims brought as barred by res judicata because the same eligibility list generated by the testing process was at issue in the first case.
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Opinions Feb. 4, 2014

February 4, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Smith v. Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, et al.
13-1939
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Smith’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a policy that requires a permit before gathering on commission properties. The new policy, revised shortly after the District Court denied the motion, retains the problematic features of the old policy. Also, Smith has met the requirements for obtaining a preliminary injunction. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2014

February 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Rinehart v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-236
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony possession of a handgun without a license.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2014

January 31, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timothy L. Richards
12-3763
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, maintaining a residence or place for the purpose of using and distributing controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. There was no error in allowing the government to introduce seized evidence, finding Richards’ 86-year-old uncle had authority to consent to a search of the bedroom where Richards stayed.
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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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