Opinions

Opinions April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Stephen Radentz, et al., v. Marion County, et al.
10-1523
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses ruling from District Court in favor of defendants in discrimination lawsuit. Plaintiffs were able to support claim that their termination from employment was race-based, and did not result in significant financial gain, as the defendants claimed.
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Opinions April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Billy L. Hicks
09-3608
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Vacates conviction of knowingly distributing more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. The District Court improperly allowed evidence of Hicks' prior drug convictions in violation of Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions April 1, 2011

April 1, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hochstetler Living Trust v. Friends of Pumpkinville Nature Trail
20A03-1009-PL-490
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s partial summary judgment in favor of Friends of Pumpkinville Nature Trail, which quieted title to a disputed tract in favor of the nature trail. Because the Plank Deed from 1899 conveyed a fee simple interest to the railroad company, the Penn Central quitclaim deed conveyed that fee simple interest to the nature trail.
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Opinions March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Antonio D. Jones v. James Basinger
09-3577
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Remands with instructions to grant writ of habeas petition. Reverses District Court's affirmation that Jones was not entitled to a habeas petition, citing U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Washington. States that informant’s double-hearsay against Jones was used as substantive evidence to prove Jones’ guilt, violating his Sixth Amendment rights.
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Opinions March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tywan D. Griffin v. State of Indiana
49A02-1007-CR-774
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, ruling the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Griffin committed the charge.
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Opinions March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Edward Dawson v. State of Indiana
49S02-1103-CR-176
Criminal. Rules that the Indiana Court of Appeals was correct in declining Edward Dawson’s belated appeal of the trial court’s decision to revoke Dawson’s probation and impose a six-year sentence. States that the COA correctly decided that belated appeals from orders revoking probation are not presently available pursuant to Post-Conviction Rule 2, as the sanction imposed when probation is revoked does not qualify as a “sentence” under the rule.
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Opinions March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Scott C. Cole and Jennifer A. Cole v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
10-2194
U.S. Tax Court, Judge Diane L. Kroupa.
Tax. Affirms finding that the Coles omitted more than $1.2 million of income and more than $1.3 million of self-employment income from their 2001 joint tax return and that they fraudulently avoided tax liability. The Coles did not show clear error in the Tax Court’s finding that because they did not produce credible documentary or other evidence showing otherwise, that the commissioner’s reconstruction of their income was “reasonable and substantially accurate.”
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Opinions March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Hurt v. State of Indiana
82A04-1006-CR-414
Criminal. Affirms Hurt’s conviction of Class C felony reckless disregard of a traffic control device in a highway workzone resulting in death, ruling that Hurt had seen the traffic controls repeatedly on his several trips through the workzone, prior to the fatal crash. Reverses Hurt’s conviction for Class C felony reckless operation of a vehicle in a highway workzone resulting in death, on double jeopardy grounds.
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Opinions March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Rollie Mitchell
10-1831
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms sentence of life imprisonment for distributing cocaine base, stating the District Court properly calculated the guidelines range and did not improperly consider Mitchell’s exercise of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
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Opinions March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Troy R. Smith v. State of Indiana
35A02-1008-CR-996
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s order to revoke Smith’s probation due to non-payment of weekly child support – a condition of Smith’s probation. The state failed to prove Smith knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally failed to pay weekly child support and failed to prove Smith’s ability to pay.
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Opinions March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Robert B. Long and Jason P. Edwards
09-3493, 09-3636
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms Edwards’ convictions of one count of narcotics conspiracy, two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The government’s affidavit in support of the wiretap established necessity. Affirms Long’s sentence for the same convictions, plus one additional count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
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Opinions March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darryl Harris v. United Water Services, Inc.
93A02-1010-EX-1164
Civil. Reverses the decision by the Full Worker’s Compensation Board affirming the grant of United Water’s motion to dismiss. Harris’ deposition testimony doesn’t support the board’s finding that he admitted that his condition stemmed from a single incident and the board applied the wrong burden of proof. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dennis Jamison
10-1515
United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms Jamison’s conviction of possessing a sawed-off shotgun, in violation of 26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5845(a). During his trial, the district court permitted the government to elicit testimony from Jamison’s wife on cross-examination regarding Jamison’s aggressiveness. Jamison appeals his conviction, arguing that the question and his wife’s response were irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, unduly cumulative, and lacked foundation. The government claims that the evidence demonstrated Mrs. Jamison’s bias and motive to lie.
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Opinions March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
C.G. LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Devel., et al.
93A02-1004-EX-441
Civil. Reverses and remands decision by Appellee Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that determined appellees/employees T.A., et al. were entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.
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Opinions March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mark Siliven, et al. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, et al.
10-2701
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms District Court conclusion that Terry Suttle, director of the Wayne County DCS, and case manager Amber Luedike were entitled to summary judgment on the federal claims on qualified immunity grounds, finding the constitutional rights allegedly violated were not clearly established in January 2008. Probable cause existed to remove C.S. from his father’s custody so there was no Fourth Amendment violation. The use of state action to protect C.S. from his father was reasonable.
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Editorial - SB 590: An Arizona-style invitation for litigation

March 16, 2011
The past weeks have brought heated debate about immigration policy to our state. The Indiana General Assembly is currently considering various anti-immigrant bills. Among them is Senate Bill 590, modeled after Arizona’s immigration law. Currently being challenged in Federal District Court on constitutional grounds, Arizona’s law has invited much criticism and proved costly to the state’s economy. Indiana should not be next in line.
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Morris: Internet is the Wild West of blog posting

March 16, 2011
When you post a comment to a story on a media website, you are responsible for your words. At least that is the case at this time. Contrary to that opinion, many people think hiding behind an anonymous identity online should be a protected right.
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Limitation of liability provision enforceable

March 16, 2011
David Temple
On March 2, 2011, the federal district court in Indianapolis issued a rather innocuous and unassuming opinion in SAMS Hotel Group, LLC v. Environs, Inc. (S.D. Ind. 2011), No. 1:09-CV-00930-TWP-TAB. However, its ramifications may be far-reaching and are surely welcomed by design professionals working on projects in Indiana.
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Opinions March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Debra L. Walker v. David M. Pullen
64S05-1101-CT-6
Civil tort. Reverses grant of Pullen’s motion to have a new trial and remands for the trial court to reinstate the original jury verdict of $10,070. The trial court judge only made general findings and not special findings as required by Indiana Trial Rule 59(J). Justice Dickson concurs in result.
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Opinions March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
In Re: Gerald W. Davis Jr.; Linda Reeves v. Gerald W. Davis Jr.
10-2757
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s affirmation of the bankruptcy court ruling that Davis’ debt owed to Reeves was dischargeable. There was no finding of fraudulent intent on Davis’ part, as is required for the application of 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(2) to prevent Davis’ debt to Reeves from being dischargeable. The decision in United States v. Childs forecloses a challenge to the reasonableness of the traffic stop.

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Opinions March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Molly C. Wilson v. Charles W. Wilson (NFP)
62A04-1004-DR-269
Domestic relation. Affirms order dissolving marriage and distributing marital property.
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Opinions March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Paternity of X.K.T.; J.L.H. v. B.L.T. (NFP)
67A01-1005-JP-212
Juvenile. Dismisses father’s appeal of the trial court order against him finding him in contempt for failure to pay child support.
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Opinions March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Peggy Abner and Linda Kendall v. Scott Memorial Hospital
10-2713
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Denies motion to file an oversized brief and affirms summary judgment for Scott Memorial Hospital in a suit under the False Claims Act. Finds the appeal has no merit and the appellant’s attorney flagrantly violated the word limit for the brief.
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Opinions March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lisa Gray v. State of Indiana
82A01-1005-CR-223
Criminal. Reverses Gray’s conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor. She contended there was insufficient evidence that she constructively possessed the marijuana. Judge Cale Bradford dissents, writing that Gray was in close proximity to the marijuana and that it was in plain view, as officers had testified at trial.
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Opinions March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Martin Avila
09-2681
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Criminal. Affirms 365-month sentence for drug offenses following re-sentencing on remand. The District Court corrected the drug quantity attributable to Avila. The District Court did not violate the cross-appeal rule and acted within the scope of the remand.
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  1. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

  2. Cannabis is GOOD for our PEOPLE and GOOD for our STATE... 78% would like to see legal access to the product line for better Hoosier Heath. There is a 25% drop in PAIN KILLER Overdoses in states where CANNABIS is legal.

  3. This article is excellent and should be required reading for all attorneys and would-be attorneys, regardless of age or experience. I've caught myself committing several of the errors mentioned.

  4. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  5. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

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