Opinions

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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Opinions July 16, 2013

July 16, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and Indiana Department of Transportation
12-3187
Civil/agency action. Affirms the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Corps of Engineers, holding that the Corps evaluated all of the wetland-protection factors required in its approval of a Clean Water Act permit to construct a section of Interstate 69 about 25 miles south of Bloomington.  

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Opinions July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tuan Chu v. State of Indiana
49A04-1210-CR-495
Criminal. Affirms convictions for three counts of Class D felony evasion of income tax, three counts of Class D felony theft, and one county of Class D felony failure to remit or collect sales tax. Chu appealed on the grounds that the nonpayment penalty of $280,326.62 and his criminal convictions violated double jeopardy principles. The COA stated it was not convinced that the nonpayment penalties were punishments for double jeopardy purposes and it disagreed with Chu’s assertion that the imposition of the nonpayment penalties was conditioned on the commission of a crime.
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Opinions July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Miguel Gutierrez v. Michael R. Kermon
12-2934
Civil/wrongful arrest, excessive force. Dismisses Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Kermon’s interlocutory appeal of a denial of summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity from a wrongful arrest and excessive force lawsuit. The court held that it had no jurisdiction over the interlocutory appeal because Kermon’s argument was dependent on a disputed fact and the court will not reweigh evidence.
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Opinions July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Danny Harmon
12-1502
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of marijuana conspiracy and related offenses and 360-month sentence. A trial continuance did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and the disclosure of Harmon’s prior drug conviction did not deprive him of a fair trial. The court did not make a mistake in finding Harmon responsible for more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana.
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Opinions July 10, 2013

July 10, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Wesley Young v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-PC-753
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions July 9, 2013

July 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roger L. Peele v. Clifford Burch, individually and as Portage Police Department Chief, et al.
12-3562
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the city of Portgage and Portage Police Department chief and assistant chief on Peele’s lawsuit that he was transferred out of the detective bureau for talking to a local reporter about the loss of the election by the candidate he supported for mayor. A deposition by a police officer who held the station duty officer position before Peele and the suspicious timing of Peele’s transfer are enough to avoid summary judgment. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cincinnati Life Insurance Company v. Marjorie Beyrer
12-2365
Civil plenary. Affirms District Court rulings against Marjorie Beyrer, widow of Kevin Beyrer, in a life insurance dispute. The court found no merit on the issues she appealed after she failed to be awarded proceeds from her husband’s life insurance policy that was assigned to a third party. Dismissal of some claims for failing to comply with federal pleading standards and summary judgment in favor of Cincinnati Life on other claims was not an abuse of discretion, the court ruled.
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Opinions July 3, 2013

July 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Ronald Ritz
11-3320
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Dismisses Ritz’s appeal of the grant of summary judgment in favor of the government that Ritz’s campground is subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act and its regulations. Ritz has waived all of the new arguments he now raises for the first time on appeal by failing to present them to the District Court.
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Opinions July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tequita Ramsey v. Lightning Corporation
49A02-1209-CC-705
Civil Collection. Affirms the trial court’s judgment in decertifying the class. In this case of first impression, the COA noted it could find no logical reason to hold that a trial court may never revoke or rescind an order certifying a class. To do so would mean that once a class action is certified, the class could not be later decertified even if facts and evidence discovered afterward suggests the class should not have been certified in the first place.
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Opinions July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
N.L. v. State of Indiana
47S01-1302-JV-126
Juvenile. Reverses and remands the trial court order placing N.L. on the sex offender registry, holding that the order was neither issued in connection with an evidentiary hearing nor accompanied by findings.
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Opinions June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Brad W. Passwater v. State of Indiana
48S05-1210-PC-583
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court denial of Passwater’s petition for relief. In the decision, the court reconsiders the instructions it approved in Georgopuls v. State, 735 N.E. 2d 1138, 1143 n.3 (Ind. 2000), for juries faced with the option of finding a defendant not responsible by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill. The court concluded the instruction provided by the Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction 11.20 is better and approved its use.
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Opinions June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy W. Parish v. State of Indiana
64A03-1210-CR-438
Criminal. Finds trial court properly denied Parish’s request for counsel at public expense because he had $130,000 in equity in his house, but the facts and circumstances of the case do not warrant a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to counsel because the trial court did not advise him of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions June 26, 2013

June 26, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael Alexander v. United States of America
12-2190
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses Alexander’s malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The complaint for malicious prosecution sets forth enough plausible detail to provide adequate notice to the defendants and survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Concludes the IIED claim is timely and adequately states a claim.
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Opinions June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Loren Hamilton Fry v. State of Indiana
09S00-1205-CR-361
Criminal. Affirms denial of bail for Fry, who is charged with murder. Holds that when a defendant charged with murder or treason seeks bail, the burden is on the state, if it seeks to deny bail, to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the proof is evident or the presumption strong. Chief Justice Dickson concurs to which Justice Rush joins; Rush concurs; Justice Massa concurs in result and dissents with separate opinion; and Justice Rucker dissents with separate opinion in which Massa concurs.
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Opinions June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Howard v. Allen County Board of Zoning, Appeals and Alvin Schmucker
02A04-1301-PL-27
Civil plenary. Affirms dismissal of Howard’s petition for judicial review of the decision by the zoning board to grant a use variance for property owned by Schmucker. I.C. 36-7-4-1316 requires dismissal where no materials supporting judicial review of the petitioner’s claims are timely filed and an extension of the filing deadline is not timely requested. Finds the trial court’s determination that it lacked jurisdiction was clearly erroneous, but the statute required dismissal on non-jurisdictional grounds.
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Opinions June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gasser Chair Company, Inc. v. Marlene J. Nordengreen, Horseshoe Hammond, LLC, d/b/a Horseshoe Casino
45A03-1210-CT-435
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Horseshoe Casino and denial of Gasser Chair Co.’s motion on Nordengreen’s claim that she was injured at the casino while using a chair Gasser manufactured. Gasser has not demonstrated Horseshoe had actual knowledge the chair was dangerous. Declines to hold a premises owner’s knowledge of a dangerous condition on its premises cannot be determined without first knowing the dangerous condition was the “sole proximate case” of an injury. Remands for the trial court to resolve the remaining issues raised in Horseshoe’s third-party complaint against Gasser.
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Opinions June 20, 2013

June 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Corey L. Grier v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1212-CR-658
Criminal. Reverses sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony possession of marijuana and remands for the trial court to amend the sentencing order to comply with the plea agreement.
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Opinions June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Revas Spencer v. Tiffany Spencer
36A04-1211-PO-605
Protective order. Reverses denial of the agreed order dismissing an order of protection submitted by the Spencers to the trial court. Since the word “shall” appears in the statute regarding the trial court’s actions when the petitioner files for the dismissal of a protection order, the trial court didn’t have the discretion to deny the parties’ request to dismiss the protective order.

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Opinions June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Robert Yeftich, et al. v. Navistar Inc. and Indianapolis Casting Corp.
12-2964
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of complaint filed by group of unionized workers alleging breach of collective-bargaining agreement under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. The complaint lacked enough factual content to plead a plausible claim for breach of the duty of fair representation, which is required to pursue this litigation.
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Opinions June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: C.L.F., D.K.F., & C.S.F. (Minor Children) and M.F. (Father) & C.J.F. (Mother) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
45A03-1210-JT-416
Juvenile termination. Affirmed judgment terminating the parental rights of both the mother and father.
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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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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

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