Opinions

Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
12-3596
Criminal. Affirms 70-month sentence for Ghiassi’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 922(g)(1). Finds the District Court was uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of Ghiassi’s co-defendant and her statements that she purchased eight firearms on his behalf. Also rejects Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process. Rules Ghiassi knew the court was going to rely on his co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to challenge those statements.
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Opinions August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
John W. Schoettmer & Karen Schoettmer v. Jolene C. Wright & South Central Community Action Program, Inc.
49S04-1210-CT-607
Civil Tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment in defendants favor and remands for further proceedings. Rules even though the Schoettmers filed their law suit against South Central well past the Indiana Tort Claims Act’s 180-day deadline, they should be allowed to present proof of estoppel to the trial court. Finds South Central never told John Schoettmer it was covered by the Act and that South Central’s insurer did not make a settlement offer until nearly three months after the ITCA deadline.
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Opinions August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Court of Appeals

Stephanie Murry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1301-CR-39
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in Marion County Community Corrections
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Opinions August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Butler et al. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.
11-8029, 12-8030
Civil. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, reinstates class-action certification for two claims regarding front-loading Kenmore washing machines sold by Sears: that design defects created odor-producing mold and cause the machine to stop at inopportune times. Applying the SCOTUS holding in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013), the court held that a single common issue of liability ran through class action claims: whether the washers were defective.
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Opinions Aug. 22, 2013

August 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roger A. Buchanan and Susan Buchanan v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc.
39A01-1211-MF-515
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of HSBC Mortgage Services, holding that even if a mortgage was not properly acknowledged, the Buchanans don’t deny that they executed a mortgage and note when they purchased their home, on which they stopped making mortgage payments in 2007. The Buchanans’ arguments therefore are without merit.
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Opinions, Aug. 21, 2013

August 21, 2013
Opinions – Aug. 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals

Rodney Melton v. State of Indiana
49A02-1212-CR-1008
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, rejecting an argument that the dissemination statute requires a “performance” under that law be public. The court also found Melton’s 11-year aggregate sentence was not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of the offense.
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Opinions Aug. 20, 2013

August 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carl J. Brandenburg v. State of Indiana
40A04-1301-CR-23
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation for failure to pay child support after conviction of a Class C felony charge of non-support of a dependent child, but remands to the trial court for a recalculation of the arrearage. The court found that Brandenburg’s daughter had turned 21 before he was charged, and the state acknowledged uncertainty about the ruling that the arrearage was $17,795.05, rather than an amount closer to $10,000, as Brandenburg claims.
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Opinions Aug. 19, 2013

August 19, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derik A. Blocker and Tammi Blocker v. U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for the Certificateholders Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust Inc. Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificate Series 2007-AHL3
45A03-1211-MF-479
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment to U.S. Bank, holding that no issues of material fact exist, and discards arguments that appeared to stem from “Redemptionist” movement theory claiming that debts could be settled through claims made to the United States Treasury. 
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Opinions Aug. 15, 2013

August 15, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. James Simon
11-1837
Criminal. Affirms jury conviction from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, on charges of filing false income tax returns, failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts, mail fraud and financial aid fraud. There was a legal basis for his convictions, and the District Court did not err in limiting defense evidence regarding some of the charges or in rulings on jury instruction.
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Opinions August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013
Opinions Aug. 13, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Rollett Family Farms, LLC. v. Area Plan Commission of Evansville-Vanderburgh County, Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners, and Vanderburgh County Recorder

82A01-1301-PL-43
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court judgment denying claims that “lots of record” for boundaries of river camps could be established based on the testimony of longtime residents. The lack of official documentation defeats the plain meaning of the words “of record,” requiring some sort of official documentation in the public record, the panel ruled.
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Opinions August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas H. Hurlow v. United States of America
12-1374
Criminal. Reverses the district court’s denial of Hurlow’s 2255 petition and remands for further proceedings. Rules Hurlow’s allegation - he would not have entered into the plea agreement had his counsel informed him of his potentially meritorious Fourth Amendment claim - was sufficient to overcome the wavier in his plea agreement not to contest his conviction or sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255.
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Opinions Aug. 9, 2013

August 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Paul Hester v. Indiana State Department of Health
12-3207
Civil. Affirms District Court ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Department of Health. The panel held that there was evidence that Hester was fired for cause, and that Hester failed to produce evidence showing age, race or gender discrimination supporting his claim that his firing violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000e17.
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Opinions Aug. 8, 2013

August 8, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Mary Alice Manley, and Gary Manley v. Ryan J. Sherer, M.D., and Sherer Family Medicine, P.C.
59S01-1205-PL-249
Civil plenary/medical malpractice. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants and remands for further proceedings, finding issues of material facts exist as to when plaintiffs knew of alleged malpractice or learned of the facts that should lead to the discovery of malpractice and resulting injury. Summary judgment should have been denied as to the defendants’ claim of absence of an element of causation necessary to establish liability.
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Opinions Aug. 7, 2013

August 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Muncie, an Indiana Non-Profit Corporation v. Yonghong Cheng and Hongjun Niu, Husband and Wife, as parents of Matthew Cheng, deceased
18A02-1210-CT-791
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Westminster in regard to an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Reverses denial of summary judgment on wrongful death and invasion-of-privacy claims and remands with instructions to grant summary judgment in favor of Westminster. Finds although the church recommended the babysitter, in whose care Matthew Cheng died, it did not owe a duty to the Cheng family as a matter of law. Also, rules the church’s publicizing the death did not invade on the Chengs’ privacy because the church did not reap any commercial value from doing so.
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Opinions Aug. 5, 2013

August 5, 2013
Brad Kroft v. State of Indiana
49A04-1211-CR-593
Criminal. Reverses and remands on interlocutory appeal denial of a motion to suppress, holding that a state trooper who stopped a motorist because a working tail lamp had a dime-sized hole that emitted white light did not have reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop that resulted in two charges: Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of 0.15 or more, and Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
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Opinions Aug. 1, 2013

August 1, 2013
Luxury Townhomes, LLC/LP XXIV, LLC, et al. v. McKinley Properties, Inc. and Kenneth Polsinelli
49A05-1210-MF-514
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms denial of Luxury’s motion to correct error. Rules that since the trial court already held a hearing, accepted the receiver’s final report and discharged the receiver, the doctrine of res judicata precluded Luxury from filing a separate motion against the receiver.
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Opinions July 31, 2013

July 31, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sikiru Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC
12-3820
Civil/Religious discrimination. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Heartland and remands to the District Court for proceedings, holding that a material issue of fact exists as to whether Sikiru Adeyeye’s rights under Title VII were violated when he was fired after taking time off work to attend his father’s burial rights in Nigeria. 
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Opinions July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re the Adoption of: P.A.H., f/k/a P..V., Minor Child, B.D. and L.H.C., v. J.H.
79A02-1302-AD-183
Adoption. Reverses trial court’s order granting post-adoption visitation to P.H.’s biological uncle, J.H. Finds the lower court lacked authority to grant post-adoption visitation rights to J.H. since he is not within any statutory category of persons entitled to visitation rights.
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Opinions July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert L. Murray v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1205-PC-274
Post conviction. Affirms COA’s memorandum decision. Grants Murray’s petition for a rehearing to address the two omitted issues regarding false testimony. Concludes the testimony was not false and the court’s omitted reference to Murray’s final motion to amend his petition is immaterial and, therefore, not a basis for relief.
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Opinions July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jermaine Marcel Nash v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1210-CR-553
Criminal. Reverses conviction of criminal confinement, a Class C felony, and remands case to the trial court to vacate the conviction and amend Nash’s sentence accordingly. Rules Nash’s convictions for attempted rape and criminal confinement violate the principles of double jeopardy.
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Opinions July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jama Mire and Hassan Rafle
12-2792, 12-2793
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms both men’s convictions of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cathinone; affirms Mire’s additional convictions of knowingly using or maintaining a place for the purpose of distributing and using cathinone; and possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing cathinone. Rejects claims that that their due process rights were violated because they were not given fair warning that the possession of “khat” may be illegal.
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Opinions July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gared Holdings, LLC v. Best Bolt Products, Inc.
49A02-1210-PL-811
Civil plenary.  Affirms the trial court’s judgment on Gared’s claims of breach of contract and breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose as those claims are supported by the evidence. The trial court erred in ruling that Best Bolt was not a merchant. Remands for the trial court to determine whether Best Bolt breached the implied warranty of merchantability, and if so, whether that alters the result of Best Bolt’s counterclaim. Chief Judge Robb concurs in separate opinion and dissents in part.
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Opinions July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thomas Dexter v. State of Indiana
79A04-1212-CR-611
Criminal. Affirms finding by jury after remand that Dexter is a habitual offender and the sentence enhancement of 30 years on his conviction of Class A felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death. The certified transcript from Dexter’s guilty-plea and sentencing hearing is sufficient to prove one of his underlying felony convictions, and his habitual-offender retrial was not barred by res judicata.
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Opinions July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kenneth Scholz v. Lorraine Kirk (NFP)
37A03-1211-PL-493
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s determination of the amount of damages for the rental income for the farmland. Reverses award of prejudgment interest to Kirk.
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Opinions July 18, 2013

July 18, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re the Guardianship of A.J.A. and L.M.A., Minor Children; J.C. v. J.B. and S.B.
48S02-1305-GU-398
Guardianship. Holds the trial court correctly vacated its original order granting grandparent visitation. The Grandparent Visitation Statute does not provide a means by which the paternal grandmother in this case may seek visitation when her son has murdered the mother of her two grandchildren.
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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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