Opinions

Opinions Oct. 17, 2011

October 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Hooten v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1101-CR-11
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder and Class A felony attempted murder.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2011

October 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cedric Tharpe v. State of Indiana
49A04-1101-CR-24
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder. Tharpe didn’t show the judge who presided over his case was biased or prejudiced, nor did he demonstrate his trial was unfair. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying his motion for continuance and there is sufficient evidence to support his conviction.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2011

October 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George Michael True v. State of Indiana
39A04-1102-CR-37
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. There was no serious evidentiary dispute about whether the battery was committed in the presence of the children. Instructing the jury that it could convict True of a Class A misdemeanor domestic battery instead of as a Class D felony improperly invited the jury to reach a “compromise” verdict. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 12, 2011

October 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Julie Nunley, n/k/a Waldrath v. Jeremy A. Nunley
68A04-1105-DR-269
Domestic relation. Affirms that Jeremy Nunley is entitled to a reduction of his child support obligation due to the decrease in his income due to his incarceration for Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent. Declines to create an exception to the rules set forth in Clark and Lambert for individuals incarcerated for the crime of nonsupport of a dependent.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2011

October 11, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Roger Loughry, also known as Mayorroger
10-2967
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence
Criminal. Reverses District Court’s decision to allow admission as evidence “hard core” pornography without examining it or without explaining its reasoning under Rule 403. Holds that the material was highly inflammatory and held only minimal probative value, but created extreme prejudice against Loughry. Remands to the District Court for proceedings consistent with opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2011

October 10, 2011
The state and federal appellate courts are closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2011

October 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Fernbach v. State of Indiana
69A01-1103-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms 60-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony attempted murder, holding that the jury’s rejection of Fernbach’s insanity defense was not erroneous.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2011

October 6, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Putnam County Sheriff v. Pamela Price
60S01-1012-CV-665
Civil. Reverses trial court’s denial of the Putnam County Sheriff’s motion to dismiss Price’s negligence action for failure to state a claim. A county sheriff’s department that neither owns, maintains or controls a county road does not owe a common law duty to warn the public of known hazardous conditions upon the roadway. Justices David and Dickson concur in result.
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Opinions Oct. 5, 2011

October 5, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
P.J. v. State of Indiana

49A05-1102-JV-121
Juvenile. Affirms restitution order following adjudication, after a guilty plea, as a delinquent child for committing what would be Class B felony burglary if committed by an adult. P.J. waived his right to have the juvenile court inquire into his ability to pay, as he has acknowledged such ability in his plea agreement.
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Opinions Oct. 4, 2011

October 4, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Saba Tesfamariam v. Moghes Woldehaimanot
49A02-1009-DR-1050
Domestic relation. Affirms decree of dissolution of marriage, which awarded father Moghes Woldehaimanot full custody of the minor children. The trial court abused its discretion by failing to establish that mother Saba Tesfamariam’s interpreter was qualified and by failing to administer an oath to the interpreter to provide an accurate translation. The failure to establish the qualifications or to administer an oath is not a fundamental error, and the trial court’s errors in the instant case were not fundamental.

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Opinions Oct. 3, 2011

October 3, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kristine P. Purcell v. Bank of America
10-3975
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of Purcell’s common-law claims against the bank without prejudice to allow her to refile in state court. Remands with instructions to enter judgment for the bank on all of Purcell’s state and federal claims. Section 1681t(b)(1)(F) and Section 16811h(e)of 15 U.S.C. are compatible, and Section 1681(t)(b) would preempt Purcell’s state-law theories.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2011

September 30, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Franklin Electric Company, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development
93S02-1102-EX-89
Agency appeal. Affirms determination of the liability administrative law judge that Franklin Electric Co. and its two newly created entities Franklin Electric Manufacturing and Franklin Electric Sales are a single employer. The manufacturing and sales entities did not acquire a distinct and segregable portion of Franklin Electric’s business, so they did not qualify as “employers” under the laws governing Indiana’s unemployment compensation arrangements.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2011

September 29, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cedar Farm, Harrison County Inc. v. Louisville Gas and Electric Co.
10-2234
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Louisville Gas and Electric on Cedar Farm’s attempt to eject Louisville Gas and Electric from its property and to terminate an oil and gas lease for violations of certain portions of the lease. The lease allows for a damages remedy and Cedar Farm hasn’t show that damages are inadequate to compensate for the harm to its property.

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Opinions Sept. 28, 2011

September 28, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Desmond Turner v. State of Indiana
49S00-0912-CR-565
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder, criminal confinement, robbery and burglary, and the sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder convictions, plus a term of years for the other convictions. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting firearms and tool mark examiner Michael Putzek’s testimony, and the admission of challenged testimony did not violate Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b). The trial court erred in admitting testimony on a statement made by Turner’s mother, but that does not require reversal.
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Opinions Sept. 27, 2011

September 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.B.; E.B. v. IDCS (NFP)
79A05-1102-JT-102
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2011

September 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angela K. Farno v. Ansure Mortuaries of Indiana, LLC, et al.
41A05-1002-PL-104
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Farno’s motion for class certification on superiority grounds regarding the alleged looting of cemetery trusts that had been funded from proceeds of purchases of pre-need burial services. The trial court did not err in finding the receiver’s action provided a superior method to recovery any of the missing trust funds.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2011

September 23, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Corrine R. Finnerty, as Successor Personal Representaive of the Estate of Dora Grace Lee, deceased v. Joseph A. Colussi and the Colussi Law Office
39A01-1011-ES-622
Estate, supervised. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Joseph Colussi and Colussi Law Office on legal malpractice claim, holding that genuine issues of material fact exist and preclude such judgment. Remands for proceedings consistent with opinion. 
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2011

September 22, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
An-Hung Yao and Yu-Ting Lin v. State of Indiana
35A02-1006-CR-678
Criminal. Affirms order dismissing the Class D felony counterfeiting charges against Yao and Lin and reverses the denial of their motion to dismiss counts of Class D felony theft and Class C felony corrupt business influence. The trial court lacked territorial jurisdiction because there is no evidence any conduct that is an element of the alleged offenses occurred in Indiana. Remands for the trial court to dismiss the remaining charges.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2011

September 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George W. Giltner, Jr. v. Betty L. Ivers, Martin Zacharias, Jr., and Bradi L. Zacharias
10A05-1010-PL-662
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s confirmation of a report that partitioned 16.5 acres of a 100-acre parcel to Giltner, who owned an undivided 20 percent interest in the parcel. Giltner has not shown that he was prejudiced by the division outlined in the report.
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Opinions Sept. 20, 2011

September 20, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Rod L. Avery and Marshall K. Avery v. Trina R. Avery
49S05-1102-PL-76
Civil plenary. Affirms default judgment entered against Rod and Marshall Avery. The Indiana Trial Rules apply to will contest actions, and the failure to file an answer or responsive pleading in accordance with Trial Rule 7 may result in a default judgment.
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2011

September 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Haegert v. Margaret McMullan
82A04-1008-CT-470
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Margaret McMullan in John Haegert’s action alleging defamation, tortious breach of his employment contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Haegert failed to show how he was injured by the contents of McMullan’s file as his termination was based only upon an incident involving McMullan. There is not properly designated evidence in the record that McMullan intended to cause Haegert emotional distress.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2011

September 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jon Paul Tongate v. State of Indian
a
29A02-1102-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property. The magistrate that presided over Tongate’s jury trial was not required to rule on the motion to correct error, and Tongate’s conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.
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Opinions Sept. 15, 2011

September 15, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cheryl A. Burns v. Orthoteck Inc. Employees’ Pension Plan and Trust, et al.
10-1521
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms finding that Cheryl Burns’ consent to designate her husband’s three sons as beneficiaries was valid and affirms the denial of her claim for benefits. The unusual circumstances of the case lead to the conclusion that the pension plan was within its discretion to find that Dr. Burns, as plan representative, verified the authenticity of his wife’s signature on the written consent form and this satisfied 29 U.S.C. 1055’s witness requirement. The plan was also within its discretion to deny Burns’ claim for benefits.
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Opinions Sept. 14, 2011

September 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kenneth Dwayne Vaughn v. State of Indiana
45A05-1102-CR-57
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s denial of motion for mistrial, holding that restraining the defendant in the presence of the jury could have influenced the jury’s verdict.
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Opinions Sept. 13, 2011

September 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Yasin Hory v. State of Indiana
01A04-1011-IF-717
Infraction. Affirms conviction of Class C infraction illegal parking, holding that Hory failed to establish an express or implied pre-emption of local traffic safety laws by federal motor safety regulations.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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