Opinions

Opinions Oct. 22, 2014

October 22, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gary Wayne Oswalt v. State of Indiana
35S02-1401-CR-10
Criminal. Oswalt preserved appellate review of three for-cause challenges of prospective jurors, but because the trial court was within its discretion to deny all of them, affirms his convictions. Holds as a matter of first impression that parties satisfy the exhaustion rule the moment they use their final peremptory challenge, regardless of whom they strike. Also holds that if parties fully comply with the exhaustion rule and demonstrate they were unable to remove any prospective juror for lack of peremptories, appellate courts may review denial of any motion to strike for cause, regardless of whether a challenged juror actually served on the jury.
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Opinions Oct. 21, 2014

October 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gary A. Gallien v. State of Indiana
22A01-1402-PC-50
Post-conviction. Reverses denial of post-conviction relief due to defense attorney’s failure to raise the issue of maximum consecutive sentences under I.C. 35-50-1-2. The majority held Gallien was prejudiced by his defender’s failure to raise the issue regarding burglaries that were “closely related in time, place, and circumstance.” Dissenting judge Cale Bradford agreed with the majority’s analysis but would affirm the trial court because he didn’t believe Gallien was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to raise the issue.
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2014

October 20, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Kenneth Schmitt
13-2894
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Criminal. Affirms conviction for possessing a firearm while being a felon and sentence of 110 months in prison with three years of supervised release. Finds police officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on warrantless searches because the officers were doing a protective sweep to secure the premises when they unlocked the basement door and searched the basement where the AK-15 semi-automatic assault rifle was found. Rules although the District Court erred in admitting evidence of Schmitt’s conviction for possession of methamphetamine, the error was harmless. And concludes District Court did not err in applying a four-level enhancement to Schmitt’s base offense level.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2014

October 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dominic Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1403-CR-125
Criminal. Affirms convictions for auto theft, a Class C felony, and resisting law enforcement, a Class A felony.
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Opinions Oct. 16, 2014

October 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana State Ethics Commission, Office of Inspector General, and David Thomas, in his Official Capacity as Inspector General v. Patricia Sanchez
49S02-1402-PL-80
Civil plenary. Affirms State Ethics Commission’s decision that Sanchez’s conduct – keeping several items that were state property after she was fired from the Department of Workforce Development – ran afoul of an administrative rule and that she should be barred from future state executive branch employment. Double jeopardy does not bar the proceeding before the commission, the criminal court’s probable cause determination is not binding upon the commission, and there is substantial independent evidence to support the commission’s decision.
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Opinions Oct. 15, 2014

October 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Randy M. Swisher v. Porter County Sheriff’s Dept., et al.
13-3602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of the defendants on Swisher’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint that he was denied medical care during his nine-month stint in jail. The magistrate judge, while fully crediting the plaintiff’s testimony at an evidentiary hearing, erred in dismissing Swisher’s suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2014

October 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brandon Earthman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1404-CR-147
Criminal. Affirms 12-year sentence for Class B felony robbery.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2014

October 13, 2014
There are no opinions Monday because the courts are closed in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2014

October 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Susan A. Snyder v. Town of Yorktown, Delaware County Surveyor, Delaware County Drainage Board, Randall Miller & Associates, Inc., and Watson Excavating, Inc.
18A02-1405-CT-332
Civil tort. Reverses grant of the defendants’ motion to dismiss Snyder’s complaint regarding inverse condemnation because her complaint sufficiently states a claim for it. Affirms dismissal as it relates to her claim for trespass because the allegations in her complaint fail to establish any circumstances under which she would be entitled to relief for trespass. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 9, 2014

October 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stacey D. Cox v. State of Indiana
29A05-1312-CR-637
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony involuntary manslaughter and Class B misdemeanor operating a child care home without a license. The state presented sufficient evidence that Cox operated a child care home under I.C. 12-17.2-5-28.6.
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Opinions Oct. 8, 2014

October 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney A. Richard v. State of Indiana
46A05-1312-CR-628
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public park, but reverses Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. The state did not offer sufficient evidence to prove he committed dealing within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. Remands for the trial court to enter a conviction as a Class B felony and resentence him on that count.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2014

October 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Evansville Courier & Press and Rita Ward v. Vanderburgh County Health Department
82S04-1401-PL-49
Civil plenary. Reverses determination by trial court and finds death certificates which include the cause of death are public records. Holds a plain reading of the state statute denies public viewing of death information at the Indiana State Department of Health but gives private citizens access to death records at the local county health department. Remands for summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor and to determine award of attorney fees.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2014

October 6, 2014
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Opinions Oct. 3, 2014

October 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eve Carson v. Stacy Palombo
49A02-1312-PL-1052
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Palombo on Carson’s claims of defamation per se, defamation per quod and invasion of privacy by false light based upon Palombo’s comments regarding a YouTube video Carson posted criticizing the investigation of her sister-in-law’s decades-old murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Carson’s motion to amend her complaint to include facts she knew but omitted at the time her original complaint was filed to defeat a grant of summary judgment in Palombo’s favor. There is no genuine issue of material fact that Carson’s claimed damages were incurred as a consequence of alleged defamatory statements, and in the light of other videos Carson posted on YouTube, she was cast in essentially the same light as Palombo’s comment.
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Opinions Oct. 2, 2014

October 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Campbell v. State of Indiana
89A04-1312-CR-634
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the order granting the state’s motion to withdraw from guilty plea. By refusing to testify at his co-defendant’s trial, Campbell failed to tender the consideration specifically contemplated in the plea agreement. Thus, it would deprive the state of its end of the bargain to sentence Campbell in accordance with a contract that he did not fully satisfy.
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Opinions Oct. 1, 2014

October 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Corbin v. State of Indiana
75S03-1401-CR-13
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of a motion to dismiss a charge of attempted child seduction and remands for further proceedings. Whether Corbin’s Facebook communications propositioning a 16-year-old student for sex constituted the required substantial step toward the crime is a question not ripe for dismissal on interlocutory appeal. Justices found the charges match the statutory elements sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss at this time.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2014

September 30, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gersh Zavodnik v. Irene Harper
49A04-1307-PL-316
Civil plenary. Denies transfer to Zavodink’s appeal of the dismissal of his appeal for failure to file a timely brief and appendix. Offers guidance to courts on how to deal with prolific, abusive litigants.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2014

September 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan L. Good v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA.
20A03-1401-MF-14
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo and the subsequent judgment of foreclosure. The bank has not shown its status as holder of the promissory note signed by Good for purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2014

September 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shacare Terry v. Community Health Network, Inc.
49A04-1312-PL-630
Civil plenary.  Affirms dismissal of Terry’s claim of breach of duty against Community Hospital, but reverses dismissal of intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The breach of duty claim is, in substance, a medical malpractice claim, so the court did not have jurisdiction because it had not been submitted to the medical review panel yet. The trial court had subject matter over Terry’s emotional distress claim.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2014

September 25, 2014
The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Scott Logan v. State of Indiana
20S05-1405-CR-339
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony child molesting and six-year sentence. Although the trial court technically complied with Criminal Rule 4(C), Logan’s 1,291-day delay between the filing of the charge and the beginning of his trial violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Orders Logan released from incarceration and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert L. Hauck and Mark Wood v. City of Indianapolis
49A04-1403-PL-136
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indianapolis on Hauck’s and Wood’s complaint regarding the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s failure to promote them to captain. The word “endeavor” as used in the ordinance means to “attempt to,” and the plaintiffs failed to show the city did not maintain proportional representation of former Marion County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Indianapolis Police Department officers throughout the divisions and appointed ranks of IMPD as contemplated by the revised code.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2014

September 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Branham Corporation v. Newland Resources, LLC; Samuel Sutphin; White River Funding Corp.; et al; Thomas N. Eckerle; Thomas N. Eckerle Prof. Corp. v. The Branham Corporation
06A05-1311-CT-572
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court’s summary judgment order in favor of the defendants. Reverses the order dismissing attorney Thomas Eckerle without prejudice and remands for entry of summary judgment in favor of Eckerle. Finds the trial court correctly determined the defendants were entitled to summary judgment because Branham filed its complaint for nonpayment of damages after the two-year statute of limitations had run.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2014

September 22, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Trezanay M. Atkins
49S00-1306-DI-435.
Attorney discipline. Suspends Atkins for two years without automatic reinstatement, finding she violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness; and 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
 
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2014

September 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
City of Mitchell v. Randy Phelix
47A01-1402-PL-88
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of its complaint for a declaratory judgment related to former Mitchell city policeman Randy Phelix’s claim for medical expenses due to disabilities resulting from dismantling methamphetamine labs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred when it ruled that Phelix was entitled to have the city pay his medical bills under I.C. 36-8-4-5 despite the worker’s compensation carrier’s denial of his claim.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2014

September 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Frank Greene
49S02-1403-PC-172
Post conviction. Reverses grant of post-conviction relief, which would have reduced Greene’s Class B felony criminal confinement conviction to a Class D felony. Greene did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel due to his attorneys’ failure to present allegedly controlling precedent from this court. Greene mischaracterizes the application of Long v. State.
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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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