Opinions

Opinions July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tameka Maria Redding v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1102-CR-104
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony attempted theft.
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Opinions July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bishop Harvey Jr., et al. v. Town of Merrillville, et al.
11-1041
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen. Affirms summary judgment for the defendants on the homeowners’ Section 1983 equal protection claim. Without a similarly situated comparator, the homeowners’ equal protection claim cannot hold water. The District Court also did not err in failing to address the homeowners’ belatedly asserted and undeveloped contention that the defendants violated their First Amendment rights by suppressing their speech. Modifies judgment to dismiss without prejudice instead of remanding the state law claims.
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Opinins July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
John A. Logan v. Donna Wilkins, M.D., et. al.
10-1415
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms decision of district court that Logan is not entitled to amend his initial complaint, holding that he had already been given the opportunity to do so but had not amended.
 
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Opinions July 7, 2011

July 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
N.K. v. Review Board
93A02-1012-EX-1431
Civil. Reverses determination by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that a worker fired for taking leftovers was not entitled to unemployment benefits.
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Opinions July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
J.L., Child Alleged to be C.H.I.N.S.; J.L. v. I.D.C.S.
32A01-1010-JC-532
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms trial court’s finding that mother’s two sons are children in need of services, because of the mother’s repeated unsubstantiated claims that the father was abusing the boys.
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Opinions July 5, 2011

July 5, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larry E. Snell v. K-Industrial, LLC (NFP)
02A03-1010-CC-523
Collections. Affirms trial court’s judgment in favor of K-Industrial and trial court’s partial summary judgment in favor of Larry Snell. Reverses award of attorney fees to Snell, holding that Snell’s complaint did not arise from his agreement with K-Industrial.
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Opinions July 1, 2011

July 1, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bobby Johnson Jr. v. Hix Wrecker Service Inc., et. al.
09-3023
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Hix Wrecker Service, stating Hix failed to prove that Bobby Johnson was not entitled to overtime pay. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Arturo Garcia-Torres v. State of Indiana
64S03-0912-CR-550
Criminal. Affirms convictions of rape, attempted rape, and two counts of burglary. Garcia-Torres’ consent to the swab of his cheek for DNA was voluntary so the swab was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Declines to find Pirtle applies. Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Brook Abebe
10-3966
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms sentence of 300 months in prison following guilty plea to armed bank robbery, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There was no procedural error in the District Court’s calculation of Abebe’s sentence and his sentence is not substantively unreasonable.
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Opinions June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Randy Horton v. State of Indiana
48S04-1106-CR-386
Criminal. Affirms convictions of child molesting but reverses 324-year sentence and orders it be reduced to an aggregate executed term of 110 years. Enhances one Class A felony conviction to 50 years and orders the 30-year advisory sentence on the remaining Class A felony convictions. Orders the Class C felony convictions to be four years on each count. Remands for the trial court to issue an amended sentencing order.
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Opinions June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Vincent M. Butler, Jr. v. State of Indiana
84A01-1008-CR-414
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Butler’s probation. The record shows that the trial court adequately advised Butler of his right to counsel and that he knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived that right. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by imposing the balance of his four-year previously suspended sentence. Judge Kirsch dissents.
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Opinions June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Involuntary Commitment of S.S.
49A02-1011-MH-1251
Mental health. Affirms order for S.S.’s temporary commitment. There was no prejudice to S.S. due to the doctor’s report being filed 16 minutes after the end of her detention period. The timely filing of the report is a procedural requirement, not a jurisdiction prerequisite. 
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Opinions June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joseph E. Corcoran v. Bill Wilson, superintendent
07-2093, 07-2182
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Allen Sharp.
Civil. Reinstates and incorporates by reference the earlier opinion in Corcoran v. Buss to the extent that it reversed the District Court’s judgment granting habeas relief on the basis of the claimed Sixth Amendment violation; and affirmed the District Court’s conclusion that the Indiana courts did not mishandle the issue of his competence to waive post-conviction remedies. Remands to District Court to permit it to address Corcoran’s remaining grounds for habeas relief.
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Opinions June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael Lee Mokol Jr.
10-2334
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The District Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting bad acts testimony through Lori Miller’s testimony as to Mokol’s statement that he would put anyone who told on him “in the ground;” or in admitting bad acts evidence involving his daughter’s testimony about the gun “prank” in the Rising Sun parking lot. The District Court did not err in restricting cross-examination of his daughter and the District Court didn’t abuse its discretion by instructing the jury as to constructive possession.
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Opinions June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of American v. Donella Locke
10-1351.
Criminal. Affirms convictions on five counts of wire fraud. Vacates Donella Locke’s 71-month sentence and restitution order and remands for resentencing proceedings, holding that the length of the sentence and amount of restitution were based in part on conduct not necessarily encompassed in the charges of conviction. Also holds that the court erred in ordering Locke to pay restitution to victims not clearly harmed by the conduct in Locke’s counts of conviction.
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Opinions June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nelson E. Rios v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1010-CR-612
Criminal. Affirms sentence for two counts of Class C felony dealing in a look-alike substance.
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Opinions June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shaun M. Berry v. State of Indiana
57A03-1011-CR-579
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s imposition of public defender fee and remands for a determination of Shaun Berry’s ability to pay for his legal services and for clarification of $364 in court costs. Holds the court failed to identify statutory authorization for imposing court costs and failed to make statutorily required finding that Berry had the ability to pay public defender fee.
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Opinions June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
T.R. v. Review Board
93A02-1005-EX-640
Agency action. Affirms Indiana Department of Workforce Development Review Board decision affirming the findings by the administrative law judge that T.R. left her employment without good cause. T.R. was afforded due process and the ALJ’s findings are supported by the evidence.
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Opinions June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Board of Commissioners in County of Allen, Commissioner Linda K. Bloom, et al. v. Northeastern Indiana Building Trades Council, et al. (NFP)
02A03-1009-PL-534
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Northeastern Indiana Building Trades Council and other appellees in their suit challenging the common wage determination for renovation of a building.
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Opinions June 14, 2011

June 14, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Alva Curtis v. State of Indiana
49S02-1010-CR-620
Criminal. Reverses denial of Curtis’ motion to dismiss. The trial court should have granted Curtis’ motion to dismiss and discharge because the days that counted toward the Rule 4(C) period exceeded 365. Curtis is not entitled to dismissal on fundamental-fairness grounds because he has not been involuntarily committed and there hasn’t been an appropriate finding that he will never be restored to competency. Remands with instructions to dismiss the charging information.
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Opinions June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011


Indiana Court of Appeals
Antwon Abbott v. State of Indiana

34A02-1009-CR-1067
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class B felony possession of cocaine and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence the cocaine and marijuana found during the search of Abbott’s person. His argument fails that the statute that elevated his possession crime to a Class B felony is unconstitutionally vague as applied to him.

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Opinions June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Liberty Country Club v. Landowners of Country Club Estates Housing Development
81A01-1007-MI-364
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the landowners of the housing development, concluding that under the terms of the covenant, Liberty is required to provide potable water to the homeowners in the development.
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Opinions June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Harriett Ellis, et al. v. CCA of Tennessee LLC d/b/a Corrections Corporation of America
10-2768
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of CCA of Tennessee on the former jail nurses’ claims of racial discrimination, hostile work environment, and violations of the state whistleblower law. Although the District Court correctly determined there was no genuine issue of material fact related to the plaintiffs’ legal claims, the District Court erred with respect to its claim preclusion ruling. That was a harmless error.
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Opinions June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Randy Edward Johnson v. State of Indiana
53S01-1106-CR-335
Criminal. Johnson failed to establish that his trial counsel was burdened by a conflict of interest sufficient to trigger the Sixth Amendment duty of inquiry under Holloway or Sullivan. Under similar circumstances, though, a judge should do more than simply pass a complaint by a defendant to the public defender’s office.
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Opinions June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael J. Gaby v. State of Indiana
79A02-1006-CR-804
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony child molesting and remands for new trial, stating the trial court erred in permitting the state to refresh the victim’s recollection by allowing her to read a previous statement she made. Holds that retrial will not violate double jeopardy grounds because sufficient evidence exists to support conviction.
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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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