Opinions

Opinions March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Meriwether v. State of Indiana
49A02-1208-CR-676
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana and Class D felony possession of paraphernalia. The trial court did not commit fundamental error when it admitted Meriwether’s statement into evidence because he was not in custody when he made it.
 
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Opinions March 14, 2013

March 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Bowser v. State of Indiana

71A03-1208-CR-361
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class C felony battery by means of a deadly weapon. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Bowser’s motion for severance and there is sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions.
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Opinions March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kelly S. Thomas v. Dushan Zatecky, superintendent, Pendleton Correctional Facility
13-1136
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Denies Thomas’ request that he be allowed collateral relief to file appeals without regard to the fees required by Section 1913 and the resolutions of the Judicial Conference. Gives Thomas 21 days to file in the 7th Circuit a motion for permission to proceed in forma pauperis and a certificate of appealability. Failure to meet this schedule will result in dismissal for failure to prosecute.

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Opinions March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Curtis A. Bethea v. State of Indiana
18S05-1206-PC-304
Post conviction. Affirms trial court denial of post-conviction relief, holding that Curtis Bethea, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery and criminal confinement in a deal that dropped seven other felony counts, was not improperly denied post-conviction relief when a judge considered evidence of charges that were dismissed.

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Opinions March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bay Colony Civic Corporation v. Pearl Gasper Trust and Bruce F. Waller
49A05-1207-PL-365
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court ruling in favor of Gasper and Waller, holding that a public easement to a reservoir also grants access to the water and not just to the land adjacent to the water, and that a neighborhood association did not violate its bylaws by spending money to improve access to the lake for residents. Remands to the trial court to grant the association’s motion for partial summary judgment.
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Opinions March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Supervised Estate of Evelyn Garrard; Ronald Garrard v. Debra L. Teibel and Douglas Grimmer and Debra Lindsay
45A03-1111-PL-547
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgments in favor of Teibel, Grimmer and Lindsay, holding that Garrard had waived all issues on appeal and failed to show an issue of material fact existed. The court also warned Garrard about language in pleadings that disparaged other parties to the litigation and the bench.

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Opinions March 7, 2013

March 7, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re: Visitation M.L.B.: K.J.R. v. M.A.B.
41S01-1209-MI-556
Miscellaneous. Rules despite the trial court’s ample “best interests” findings, the lack of findings on the other three factors, both standing alone and as compounded by the extensive visitation awarded without those necessary findings, violates Mother’s fundamental right to direct M.L.B.’s upbringing. Remands for a new entry of findings and conclusions revealing the court’s consideration of all four McCune/K.I. factors, without a new hearing.
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Opinions March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc. v. Amco Insurance Company
33S01-1206-CT-312
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Amco Insurance Co. on its motion for declaratory judgment to enforce its reading of the insurance contract with the hotel disclaiming coverage for, and its duty to defend against, a civil complaint brought by a motel guest molested by an off-duty motel employee. The facts of the case reflect precisely the sort of scenario contemplated by the parties to be excluded from coverage when they agreed to the insurance contract. Chief Justice Dickson concurs and Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Williams, Jr. v. State of Indiana
30A01-1207-CR-305
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B felonies burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license. Williams’ trial counsel’s performance was deficient by failing to object under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) to the admission of evidence of William’s previous bad acts and convictions. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Securities and Exchange Commission v. First Choice Management Services Inc., et al.
12-3308
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms $600,000 sanction against SonCo for contempt of court by not following a court order. The $600,000 is actually a gross understatement of the harm caused by SonCo’s contempt for failing to take over operation of Alco’s wells within 90 days as ordered.
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Opinions Feb. 28, 2013

February 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Verdyer Clark v. State of Indiana
49A04-1202-CR-66
Criminal. Grants rehearing for clarification and affirms in all respects. Holds that the determination whether the age of a perpetrator is relevant to a child victim’s medical diagnosis or treatment is best left to another case.
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Opinions Feb. 27, 2013

February 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lamont Holloway v. State of Indiana
49A02-1207-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft. The evidence was sufficient to support the convictions.
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Opinions Feb. 26, 2013

February 26, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Paul M. Brock v. State of Indiana
79A04-1208-CR-433
Criminal. Affirms trial court sentence of 12 years on convictions of Class C felony auto theft; Class D felony intimidation; Class A misdemeanors resisting law enforcement, striking a law enforcement animal, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated; and a habitual offender enhancement. The court held that the sentence was not impermissible double enhancement, was not inappropriate, and that the court did not abuse its discretion when it considered Brock’s prior behavior while incarcerated.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jose Maldonado-Morales v. State of Indiana
20A05-1205-CR-255
Criminal. Affirms Class D felony conviction of domestic battery, ruling that a jury instruction on the doctrine of transferred intent was not an abuse of discretion and that the state was not required to prove that Maldonado-Morales knowingly or intentionally struck his ex-wife in the presence of their child.  

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Opinions Feb. 22, 2013

February 22, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
K.W. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1301-JV-20
Juvenile. Affirms Court of Appeals reversal of trial court ruling designating K.W. a delinquent for resisting law enforcement, and orders the delinquency adjudication vacated. Justices held that evidence was insufficient that K.W. acted “forcibly” to resist a school resource officer when he pulled away as the officer was attempting to handcuff him.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2013

February 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Curtis Tyrell Cutler v. State of Indiana

71A05-1206-CR-339
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary. Finds there was sufficient evidence to warrant a jury finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Cutler committed the burglary. Holds the trial court did not err in permitting the use of a statement Cutler made to police for impeachment.

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Opinions Feb. 20, 2013

February 20, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Columbus Regional Hospital v. Federal Emergency Management Agency
12-2007
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of FEMA on the hospital’s lawsuit seeking $20 more in federal aid following a flood in 2006. Holds the District Court is the proper venue for the hospital’s lawsuit. Rejects the hospital’s claims that it is entitled to the cost of new equipment instead of cost less depreciation and that FEMA should not have deducted from the aid the $25 million it received from insurance.

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Opinions Feb. 19, 2013

February 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Ronald B. Hawkins v. State of Indiana
20S03-1208-DR-499
Domestic relation. Vacates convictions of two counts of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent where Hawkins was tried in absentia. The record indicates that Hawkins’ failure to appear at trial did not constitute a waiver of his right to counsel. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions Feb. 18, 2013

February 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jim A. Edsall v. State of Indiana
57A03-1205-CR-240
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to five counts of Class A felony delivery of methamphetamine and one count of Class A felony conspiracy to manufacture meth. There is no indication that the trial court considered alleged inaccurate and irrelevant testimony when sentencing him, and his sentence is appropriate based on his character and nature of his offenses. Reverses order of restitution as part of Edsall’s sentence because the trial court had not authority to order restitution in this case.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2013

February 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore Railcats, and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC v. Juanita DeJesus
45A03-1205-CT-222
Civil tort. Reverses denial of summary judgment for South Shore Baseball on DeJesus’ lawsuit filed after she was hit by a foul ball at a game. As a matter of law, the appellants can’t be held liable for her injuries. Remands with instructions for the court to issue summary judgment in favor of South Shore Baseball.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2013

February 14, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
In the matter of: Castleton Plaza LP; Appeal of: El-SNPR Notes Holdings LLC
12-2639
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Basil H. Lorch III.
Bankruptcy. Holds an equity investor cannot evade the competitive process by arranging for the new value to be contributed by (and the new equity to go to) an “insider” as 11 U.S.C. Section 101(31) defines that term. Competition is essential whenever a plan of reorganization leaves an objecting creditor unpaid yet distributes an equity interest to an insider.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2013

February 13, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jesus Uribe
11-3590
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms decision granting Uribe’s motion to suppress heroin found after traffic stop. The government failed to show that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop Uribe’s vehicle to investigate why its registration was tied to a white Nissan whereas the Nissan Uribe was driving was blue. Investigatory stops based on color discrepancies alone are insufficient to give rise to reasonable suspicion.
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Opinions Feb. 11, 2013

February 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Gray v. State of Indiana
49A02-1205-CR-352
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence of Class D felony possession of cocaine, holding that the court erred in failing to allow a defendant to play a tape of an officer’s deposition that contained inconsistent statements, but that the error was harmless because other evidence at trial strongly pointed to Gray’s guilt.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2013

February 8, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Billy Russell v. State of Indiana
49A04-1203-CR-148
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence on charges of murder and Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. The panel found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to completely bifurcate the trial of the SVF charge from the murder charge or in refusing to tender Russell’s self-defense jury instruction. The court also determined the 85-year sentence was not inappropriate.

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Opinions Feb. 7, 2013

February 7, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jurijus Kadamovas v. Michael Stevens, et al.
12-2669
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of prisoner Kadamovas’ lawsuit against prison officials and other inmates for unintelligibility. The suit is actually written clearly and not 99 pages as the judge believed, but just 28 pages. Remands for further consideration.
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  1. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  2. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  3. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  4. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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