Opinions

Opinions Dec. 6, 2012

December 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Connie Yates, Rick Yates, Jason Tibbs, and Pauline Tibbs v. Levi Wayne Kemp

50A04-1204-CT-192
Civil tort. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment to Kemp on the Yateses’ and Tibbses’ claims for nuisance. Based on the plain language of I.C. 14-22-31.5-6 and its context in the act as a whole, Kemp is not shielded by section 6 from liability related to his neighbors’ nuisance claims arising from noise pollution. There is also a material fact as to whether Kemp has caused his neighbors to experience inconvenience, annoyance or discomfort.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2012

December 5, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Gregory Wolfe
11-3281
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of bank theft and interstate transportation of stolen goods for Wolfe’s role in a copper theft scheme and his 88-month sentence, followed by concurrent three-year terms of supervised release, and order of more than $3 million in restitution. Wolfe argued that he was deprived of a fair trial because of statements the prosecutor made during closing argument. He also challenged the sentence and restitution order. Wolfe’s contentions lack merit.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2012

December 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerry Vanzyll v. State of Indiana
34A02-1111-CR-1050
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands to the trial court convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felonies of possession of meth and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The court affirmed the drug convictions but ordered the resisting conviction vacated because it held there was insufficient evidence to prove that Vanzyll fled.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2012

December 3, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Terry J. Hough
64A05-1203-MI-113
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s grant of a petition that Hough’s name be removed from the Indiana Sex Offender Registry, holding that requiring him to register for a Pennsylvania rape committed before the establishment of the registry would violate the Indiana Constitution’s prohibition of ex post facto laws.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2012

November 30, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana Ex Rel., Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission v. Derek A. Farmer
94S00-1103-MS-165
Attorney discipline. Rejected petition to enjoin unauthorized practice of law, holding that the Disciplinary Commission failed to prove that Farmer had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and failed to convince the court that Farmer could not have reasonably expected to be authorized for temporary admission due to a pending disciplinary proceeding.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2012

November 29, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry and Laura Wagler, Larry and Jennifer Wagler, Norman Wagler, and Janet and Nathan Wagler v. West Boggs Sewer District Inc.
14A01-1109-PL-427
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the Waglers’ motions for relief from judgment pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 60(B), and that the court did not err in directing Janet and Nathan Wagler to connect to the sewer system. Denies West Boggs’ request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Nov. 28, 2012

November 28, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Richard Thomas v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
64A03-1204-PL-191
Civil plenary. Affirms suspension of Thomas’ driving privileges for 10 years due to qualifying as a habitual traffic violator. The BMV timely notified Thomas that he qualified as a habitual traffic violator and the doctrine of laches is not applicable to the instant matter.
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Opinions Nov. 27, 2012

November 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kirstan Haub, d/b/a American Handyman Service v. Jenny Eldridge
10A01-1203-PL-107
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Haub’s motion for summary judgment against Eldridge. The trial court erred in considering parol evidence, and the release unambiguously releases Haub from any and all claims that Eldridge may have had against him on or before Oct. 8, 2010. Orders trial court to enter summary judgment in favor of Haub.
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Opinions Nov. 26, 2012

November 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of B.W. and C.W. (Minor Children); J.W. (Mother) B.W. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
33A04-1206-JT-289
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2012

November 21, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. William Hagler
11-2984
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge William C. Lee.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of attempted bank robbery. Hagler argued that the government waited too long to indict him, that the evidence was insufficient to convict him, and that new DNA testing entitles him to a new trial.
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Opinions Nov. 20, 2012

November 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lincoln Plowman
11-3781
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms Plowman’s convictions of federal funds bribery and attempted extortion under color of official right. The District Court did not err when it precluded him from arguing entrapment to the jury.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2012

November 19, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dr. Norma Kreilein, Rock Emmert, and Healthy Dubois County, Inc. v. Common Council of the City of Jasper and Jasper Utility Board
19A04-1201-MI-51
Miscellaneous/Open Door Law. Reverses trial court’s denial of plaintiffs’ motion to amend complaint, continue trial and compel discovery, and remands for a new trial. The court held that plaintiffs were diligent in pursing discovery but were thwarted for months by Jasper’s refusal to cooperate.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2012

November 16, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marybeth Lebo v. State of Indiana
46A05-1202-CR-104
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s judgment in denying motion to dismiss charges of failure to report child abuse or neglect. Lebo argued the charges were not permissible because they came after the statute of limitations had passed but the COA disagreed, finding the Legislature’s intent was to make the failure to report a continuing offense. Otherwise, the court stated, the duty to report would be limited to the day on which the individual comes to believe abuse is taking place.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2012

November 15, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derek Asklar and Pauline Asklar v. David Gilb, Paul Garrett Smith d/b/a P.H. One Trucking, Empire Fire and Marine Ins. Co., d/b/a Zurich; Travelers Ideminity Co. of America
02A03-1204-CT-170
Civil tort/insurance. Affirms in part and reverses in part the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Empire, holding that Indiana law rather than Georgia law should apply in the case, but determining that Empire’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limit is still only $75,000, as the trial court ruled.
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2012

November 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Fox v. Nichter Construction Co., Inc.
03A01-1202-SC-52
Small claims/wages. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands in part the dismissal of Fox’s wage claim with prejudice and orders the court to enter a dismissal of the claim with prejudice. A divided appeals court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Fox had pursued his claim through the Department of Labor under the Wage Claim statute before filing suit. The appeals court ordered the trial court to dismiss the case without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, including the failure to name the real party in interest. Fox may refile his claim setting forth the reassignment by the Department of Labor.
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Opinions Nov. 13, 2012

November 13, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
D.C. v. J.A.C.
32S04-1206-DR-349
Domestic relation/modification of custody. Reverses Court of Appeals ruling that overturned a trial court modification of a custody order in favor of a child’s father. In a case involving a mother who was moving out of state, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals erred by failing to apply a highly deferential standard of review to the trial court’s determination of a custody modification based on testimony regarding the best interests of the child.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2012

November 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Amerisafe Risk Services, Inc., and Leerae Riggs v. The Estate of Hazel D. Wadsack, deceased, by Ronald J. Wadsack as Personal Rep., and Ronald J. Wadsack, individually
88A01-1204-CT-144
Civil tort. Reverses trial court denial of plaintiff’s request for dismissal, holding that the court lacked jurisdiction in the case. The estate of an injured worker’s mother sued the worker’s compensation insurer, claiming that the mother died as a result of emotional distress over the insurer’s handling of her son’s claim. The appeals court held that the Wadsacks had not exhausted appeals through the Worker’s Compensation Board, which the court determined had proper jurisdiction because the Wadsacks’ claim was derivative of their son’s claims for benefits.
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Opinions Nov. 8, 2012

November 8, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Michael Burton v. State of Indiana
45A03-1201-CR-6
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to dismiss the charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Remands with instructions. Wallace applies and the ex post facto provision of the Indiana Constitution prevents the application of Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry Act to require Burton, a resident of Indiana, to register as a sex offender for an offense committed in Illinois in 1987.
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Opinions Nov. 7, 2012

November 7, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Michael Kucholick v. State of Indiana
12S02-1211-CR-630
Criminal. Justices grant transfer and order Kucholick’s sentence for Class C felony criminal recklessness and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief revised to the advisory term of four years, all executed. Summarily affirms Court of Appeals decision in all respects. Chief Justice Dickson dissents, believing the trial court’s sentence of seven years should be affirmed.
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Opinions Nov. 6, 2012

November 6, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Elvis Holtsclaw

49S02-1205-CR-264
Criminal. Reverses dismissal of state’s notice of appeal and remands to the Court of Appeals for consideration of its merits, holding that the appeal is timely under Appellate Rule 9.
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Opinions Nov. 5, 2012

November 5, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven E. Miles, a/k/a Robert Dutcher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1204-PC-310
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions Nov. 2, 2012

November 2, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua A. Bostic v. State of Indiana
12A02-1202-CR-154
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Cass C felony attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness; Class D felony arson; Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief; and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief, holding that Bostic waived his right to appeal under Criminal Rule 4(C) by failing to object to trial delays before the trial court. The court also found he likewise waived his right to appeal the process for appointing a special judge. Remands to the trial court to correct the sentencing order, abstract of judgment, and chronological case summary to reflect that Bostic’s 12-year habitual offender enhancement is an enhancement to his sentence for felony criminal recklessness, and not a separate conviction.
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Opinions Nov. 1, 2012

November 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Leslie Bridges v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, Veolia Water North America Operating Service, LLC, and The City of Indianapolis, Dept. of Waterworks
49A02-1112-CC-1097
Civil collection. Affirms trial court dismissal of Bridges’ class action filed after her water was turned off for nonpayment, finding Bridges failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available at the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission. She had to seek those remedies before seeking judicial relief. Concludes that I.C. 8-1-2-68 through -70 grant the IURC exclusive jurisdiction over Bridges’ claim regardless of whether it is treated as a challenge to and request for reimbursement of the reconnect fee or as a challenge to the allegedly improper act of terminating her residential water service in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the tariff.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2012

October 31, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robertson Fowler v. State of Indiana
49A05-1202-PC-68
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Fowler received a benefit at the time he entered into his plea bargain, so he may not now challenge the sentence as illegal.
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Opinions Oct. 30, 2012

October 30, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Lisa J. Kane v. State of Indiana
30S04-1206-CR-372
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property and remands for retrial. The trial court improperly instructed the jury on the mental state required to convict Kane.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

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