Opinions

Opinions Oct. 27, 2011

October 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joey Jennings v. State of Indiana
53A01-1010-CR-541
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. The state presented sufficient evidence to prove that he was the person who damaged another man’s truck. Reverses his sentence of 360 days probation in addition to 180 days in prison with 150 suspended. Jennings’ term of imprisonment for the purposes of Indiana Code 35-50-3-1(b) includes not only the 30-day executed portion, but also the suspended term. The trial court sentence caused him to serve more than a year of combined imprisonment and probation, which violates the statute. Remands for the trial court to recalculate his probation, not to exceed 185 days.
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Opinions Oct. 26, 2011

October 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony D. Laster v. State of Indiana
02A03-1103-CR-91
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and four counts of Class B felony robbery, holding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Laster’s motion for continuance. Remands to the trial court to revise sentence, holding that in light of the offender’s character and nature of offenses, a fully executed sentence on each count is not warranted.
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Opinions Oct. 25, 2011

October 25, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marlyn J. Barnes and Melvin B. Taylor
11-1261, 11-1602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms the resentencing of Barnes to 292 months and Taylor to 188 months for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. The District Court’s analysis evinces the perception of fair sentencing and reasonableness.
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Opinions Oct. 24, 2011

October 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Allen Buchanan v. State of Indiana
82A01-1103-CR-139
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony child molesting, holding that trial court did not err in calculating the amount of credit time to which Buchanan was entitled and did not err in finding the age of the victim as an aggravator.
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Opinions October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James K. White and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Susan Orth, Allen County Treasurer, and Lisbeth A. Blosser, Allen County Auditor

02A03-1101-MI-8
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s decision to overrule Wells Fargo’s objection to the issuance of tax deeds, holding Allen County properly served the tax sale notices upon Wells Fargo. 
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2011

October 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Beth Ann Johnson, Mother of: Emily Johnson, Deceased Minor Child v. Lance Jacobs, Steven J. Cummins, Stacy Cummings, Lawrence County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Tony Newbold, Lawrence Co. Comm.
47A01-1102-CT-35
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for all the defendants in Johnson’s suit for damages in daughter Emily’s wrongful death. Her ex-husband Eric’s intentional criminal acts were a superseding intervening cause between any alleged negligence of the defendants and Emily’s death.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2011

October 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Alan Massey v. State of Indiana
49A05-1012-PC-808
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Even though the jury was improperly instructed regarding the elements of voluntary manslaughter, Massey wasn’t entitled to the voluntary manslaughter instruction because his girlfriend’s words ending their relationship do not constitute sufficient provocation to induce sudden heat. He also failed to carry his burden to show that the sentencing issue was significant.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2011

October 18, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bruce Barton v. Zimmer Inc.
10-2212
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Zimmer Inc. on Barton’s claims for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and for interference with his right to reinstatement under the Family Medical Leave Act. Barton’s ADEA claims fail for lack of causation and any available remedy. There is also no evidence of retaliation, and he has no claim under FMLA because when Barton returned to work after his medical leave, the company assigned him equivalent duties without regard to his medical leave.
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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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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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