Opinions

Opinions June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jason Findlay v. Jonathan Lendermon
12-3881
Civil/excessive use of force. Reverses District Court denial of summary judgment in favor of Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Lendermon, holding that Findlay has not met a burden of proof showing a violation of a clearly established right when Lendermon grabbed his arm to prevent him from picking up a memory card believed to contain surveillance video of Findlay’s admission of trespassing.
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Opinions June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Re: the Name Change of Jane Doe, Petitioner, Mary Doe, a Minor, and Baby Doe, a Minor
49A02-1211-MI-894
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of mother Jane Doe’s petition to change her and her children’s names without publishing notice of the change based on the evidence in the record and current law. Mother may be able to protect some information from public record by going through Administrative Rule 9, but she did not choose to do so.

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Opinions June 12, 2013

June 12, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
John H. Mooney, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Joseph S. Mooney, Deceased v. Anonymous M.D. 4, Anonymous M.D. 5, and Anonymous Hospital
32A04-1208-CT-414
Civil tort. Reverses order dismissing with prejudice Mooney’s proposed complaint for damages in a medical malpractice action. The trial court did not have jurisdiction to dismiss under Trial Rule 41(E), and it abused its discretion when it dismissed the proposed complaint under I.C. 34-18-10-14.
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Opinions June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Judson Atkinson Candies, Incorporated v. Kenray Associates, Incorporated, Charles A. McGee and Kenneth J. McGee
12-1035, 12-1036
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann Jr.
Civil. Reverses District Court ruling that Judson Atkinson must demonstrate that it had been induced by fraud to enter into the integration clause in a settlement agreement between it and Kenray Associates, as opposed to the agreement as a whole, in order to circumvent the parol evidence rule. Indiana law does not impose such a bright-line rule.

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Opinions June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Javier Munoz
12-3351
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms 181-month sentence following a guilty plea in 2007 to distributing and possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. Munoz materially breached the conditions of his release and an implied term of the plea agreement by fleeing the country rather than showing up for sentencing.
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Opinions June 7, 2013

June 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Supervised Admin. of the Estate of Cora E. Young, deceased; Terry Douthitt, Kelly Douthitt, and Kevin Douthitt v. Theodore R. Young
53A04-1301-EU-36
Estate, unsupervised. Affirms trial court’s finding that the proceeds of a sale of Cora Young’s property should be distributed to her second husband at her death. Since the property was a specific bequest under Young’s will and was sold before her death, it was adeemed by extinction and therefore the proceeds pass to the residuary beneficiary under her will, which is her second husband.
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Opinions June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott Speers v. State of Indiana
55A01-1208-CR-391
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony burglary and Class D felony theft. The trial court properly denied Speers’ motion for discharge under Rule 4(C) as much of the delay in bringing Speers to trial was attributable to him. The direct examination of the lead detective did not present evidence in such a way as to crate an evidentiary harpoon.
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Opinions June 5, 2013

June 5, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: K.T.K., K.C., and K.R.K. (Minor Children), and R.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Dearborn County Office
15S01-1306-JT-402
Juvenile. Sets aside the Court of Appeals order dismissing the mother’s appeal and affirms termination of parental rights. The record supports the trial court’s findings that the conditions resulting in the children’s continued placement outside of the home would not be remedied and termination of parental rights was in the best interest of the children. Denies father’s petition to transfer in separate order.

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Opinions June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
City of Indianapolis v. Rachael Buschman
49S02-1210-CT-598
Civil tort. Affirmed trial court’s grant of summary judgment in Buschman’s favor and remanded the case for further proceedings. Ruled that Buschman’s inclusion of information about her injuries does not restrict the scope of her claim. Although she stated in her claim she did not suffer any injuries from an auto accident involving an Indianapolis police officer, the amended statute governing the Indiana Tort Claims Act does not require a description of injuries. The court concluded when the Legislature amended the statute, it intended to remove any pre-existing requirement of specificity in regards to personal injuries.  
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Opinions June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jeffrey Weaver
12-3324
Criminal. Vacates judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and remands for resentencing. Weaver was sentenced to 235 months imprisonment after the District Court determined his sentence should be enhanced because he was functioning as a manager/supervisor in supplying methamphetamine to two buyers and pressuring them to sell the drugs. The Circuit Court found his actions did not rise to the 3-level enhancement because he did not have the control necessary to coerce the buyers. Instead Weaver was encouraging behavior that would protect his investment and insure payment of the debt owed to him. 
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Opinions May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Brian Scott Hartman v. State of Indiana
68S01-1305-CR-395
Criminal. Reversed and remanded a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress Hartman’s confession. Found Hartman’s previous invocation of his Miranda rights was still in place when detectives questioned him days later because his earlier request for counsel was unproductive which likely increased the coercive pressure.  

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Opinions May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Daniel L. Delaney
12-2849
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Delaney’s argument that no reasonable juror could have failed to find that he acted in the heat of passion when he killed his cellmate fails because there was considerable evidence of forethought, much of it emanating from the defendant’s own statements. Judge Bauer concurs.
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Opinions May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jill Finfrock a/k/a Jill Bastone v. Mark Finfrock
64A05-1209-DR-489
Domestic relation. Reverses award of attorney fees to Mark Finfrock. The award was based on perceived violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is inapplicable because Finfrock’s arrearage of child support is not considered “debt” under the Act. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by declining Jill Bastone’s request to enter a qualified domestic relations order to attach to the entirety of her ex-husband’s retirement account. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Streeter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
44A04-1110-PC-640
Post conviction. Affirms denial of amended petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions May 24, 2013

May 24, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rebirth Christian Academy Daycare, Inc. v. Indiana Family & Social Services Administration
49A04-1209-MI-467
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of the daycare’s motion to dissolve and/or modify the order in the First Amended Agreement Judgment between the daycare and FSSA. The trial court properly determined that Rebirth cannot employ LaSonda Carter pursuant to I.C. 12-17.2-6-14 despite an earlier trial court order restricting access to her criminal record.
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Opinions May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tommy L. Morris, personal representative of the estate of Thomas Lynn Morris v. Salvatore Nuzzo
12-3220
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Vacates the dismissal of the claims of Tommy Morris against Nuzzo. The District Court erred in its determination that Nuzzo was fraudulently joined. Remands with instructions the case be further remanded to the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court of Ohio.
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Opinions May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lydia Lanni v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al.
49A05-1208-CT-392
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the NCAA on Lanni’s negligence claim. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied Lanni’s April 20, 2012, motion for alteration of time. It effectively deprived her of a reasonable opportunity to present any material made pertinent to a Trial Rule 56 motion. Affirms denial of Lanni’s motion to strike the affidavit by the NCAA’s fencing championship manager, designated by the NCAA, that the NCAA was not involved in the fencing match where Lanni was injured.
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Opinions May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Pickering v. Caesars Riverboat Casino, LLC d/b/a Horseshoe Southern Indiana
31A01-1209-CT-429
Civil tort. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant, holding that an injury Charles Pickering sustained after passing beneath caution tape and falling on a snowy and icy parking garage surface could not be attributed to Horseshoe Casino, which had cordoned off the area.
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Opinions May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John W. Bloch, III
12-2784
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. The court affirmed a conviction of firearm possession by a felon, but found error in convictions of two counts under 18 U.S.C. Section 922 because the possession of two firearms arose from the same incident. Ordered the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to merge the convictions and resentence Bloch on a single count.
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Opinions May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana ex rel. Glenn D. Commons, et al. v. The Hon. John R. Pera, et al.
45S00-1303-OR-209
Original action/judiciary. Grants in part and denies in part relief sought by relators, Lake County magistrates, who sought to prevent civil division Judge Nicholas Schiralli from transferring to the juvenile bench. The court held that Schiralli, who had not been appointed to the bench through merit selection, may not transfer without first being appointed through merit selection. The court denied the magistrates’ request that no judicial transfers be allowed without merit selection. The court denied Lake County judges’ assertion that the Lake County merit selection statute in question, I.C. 33-33-45-21(e), is unconstitutional.
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Opinions May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Lee Sowers v. State of Indiana
08A02-1208-CR-640
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class D felonies criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement. The bailiff improperly communicated with the jury foreperson, resulting in fundamental error. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Bradford dissents.
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Opinions May 15, 2013

May 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Richard J. Bond and Janet A. Bond, et al. v. Templeton Coal Company, Inc.
42A01-1209-PL-419
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Templeton Coal Co. on its complaint to quiet title to certain mineral interests. Considering Section 2’s ambiguity, the rule to strictly construe acts in derogation of the common law, and the Mineral Lapse Act’s underlying purposes, holds that Section 2 of the Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the twenty-year period immediately preceding the effective date of the Act, or September 2, 1951.
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Opinions May 14, 2013

May 14, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. John Doe
49S00-1201-CT-14
Civil tort. Reverses judgment declaring I.C. 34-51-3-4, -5, and -6 impermissibly inconsistent with Article 1, Section 20 and Article 3, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution. The cap and allocation scheme of punitive damages does not infringe upon the right to a jury trial, and the cap does not offend the separation of powers. Remands with instructions to grant Stewart’s motion to reduce the punitive damages to the statutory maximum and order that 75 percent of the award be deposited in the Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund. 
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Opinions May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph Matheny v. State of Indiana
49A04-1207-CR-347
Criminal. Grants petition for rehearing to clarify that the previous holding – that the trial court’s refusal of Matheny’s tendered instruction constituted error in light of Santiago v. State and Albores v. State – does not conflict with those cases. The judges reaffirmed their original decision which affirmed the Class D felony auto theft conviction and found that although the trial court erred in refusing to give the instruction regarding the jury’s duty to conform the evidence to the presumption that the defendant is innocent, the error was harmless.
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Opinions May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Royce Brown v. John F. Caraway, Warden
12-1439
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Brown’s petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. Section 2241 in which he argued under Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. 137 (2008), his prior Delaware conviction for arson in the third degree did not qualify as a crime of violence. Brown is entitled to relief, and under Begay, his prior conviction doesn’t qualify as “generic” arson under the enumerated crimes clause of the career offender guideline, nor is it covered by the residual clause. Remands with instructions to reduce his drug and firearm sentence to reflect that he is not a career offender under Section U.S.S.G. Section 4B1.1. Chief Judge Easterbrook issued a statement concerning the circulation under Circuit Rule 40(e).
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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