Opinions

Opinions Jan. 18, 2011

January 18, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Desmond Parks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1003-CR-174
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony domestic battery.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2011

January 17, 2011
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court are closed today in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
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Opinions Jan. 14, 2011

January 14, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
John M. Stephenson v. Bill Wilson, Superintendent of Indiana State Prison
09-2924
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Order. Petition for rehearing en banc is denied. Panel previously reversed District Court’s finding that Stephenson received ineffective assistance of counsel because the attorney didn’t object to Stephenson’s wearing a stun belt in court. Judges Rovner, Williams, and Hamilton dissent.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2011

January 13, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of H.C. and T.C.; J.C. v. IDCS (NFP)
76A03-1006-JT-374
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2011

January 12, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Amorita N. Thomas, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. H&R Block Eastern Enterprises Inc.
10-1482
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David Hamilton.
Affirms summary judgment in favor of H&R Block in Thomas’ suit under Indiana’s Wage Payment Statute for paying its end-of-season compensation more than 10 days after it was earned. Concludes that the end-of-season compensation is not a wage under the statute because it was depending on other factors than her efforts and it would be highly difficult for the company to calculate it within 10 days. Declines to send a certified question on the issue to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2011

January 11, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
John G. Cooper v. State of Indiana
32A05-1005-CR-309
Criminal. Affirms five-year enhancement imposed under the Firearm Enhancement Statute following the jury’s determination Cooper knowingly or intentionally used a firearm in the commission of reckless homicide, a Class C felony. Double jeopardy principles aren’t implicated in this case. Also affirms aggregate 13-year sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2011

January 10, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Francisco Onan Delao v. State of Indiana
20A05-1003-CR-182
Criminal. Affirms four convictions of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. Delao waived any error in the admission of the audio recordings of certain cocaine transactions because he failed to present a sufficient record for appellate review. His sentence is appropriate in light of his character and offenses.
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Opinions Jan. 7, 2011

January 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony V. Collins-Caudill v. State of Indiana (NFP)
92A05-1003-CR-242
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony robbery.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2011

January 6, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeremiah Hayes v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A05-1006-CR-388
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to two counts of child molesting as Class C felonies.
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Opinions Jan. 5, 2011

January 5, 2011
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
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Opinions Jan. 4, 2011

January 4, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

USA v. Timothy Redd
09-3799
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann
Criminal. Affirms District Court’s denial of Redd’s successive §3582(c)(2) motion to reduce his sentence. Redd’s sentence was reduced from 405 months to 327 months after the Sentencing Commission made the reduction in the guideline ranges for crack offenses retroactive. In a motion filed 10 months after his sentence was reduced, Redd claimed his reduction was not as much as it should have been. 7th Circuit concludes Redd let the time for reconsideration or appeal of the district judge’s resentencing expire without action.
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Opinions Jan. 3, 2011

January 3, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kyle Beals v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1004-CR-461
Criminal. Reverses convictions of four counts of Class B felony criminal confinement and orders they be vacated. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class B felony robbery and one count of resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2010

December 30, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Richmond State Hospital, et al. v. Paula Brattain, Francis Ernst, et al.
49A02-0908-CV-718
Civil. Denies the state’s petition and grants the employees’ petition to clarify the Court of Appeals’ instructions on remand for determining the merit employees’ damages. Concludes merit employees are entitled to back pay for the period beginning either 10 days before the filing of the July 29, 1993, complaint, or 10 days before the filing of their individual administrative grievances, whichever comes first, until the date that the state abolished the split class system. The trial court must determine whether the state terminated the split class system on Sept. 12 or Sept. 19, 1993.
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Opinions Dec. 29, 2010

December 29, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. James K. Taylor
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
10-2947
Criminal. Affirms sentenced for 64 months’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The sentence was based in part on the District Court’s conclusion that his prior Indiana conviction for Class C felony battery qualified as a “crime of violence” under § 4B1.2(a) of the federal sentencing guidelines, enhancing his recommended base offense level. Taylor argued his battery conviction was not a crime of violence for the purposes of the federal sentencing guidelines.

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Opinions Dec. 28, 2010

December 28, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Richard Childress Jr. v. State of Indiana
45A03-0911-CR-520
Criminal. Affirms convictions of robbery and criminal confinement, both Class B felonies. On appeal, appellant-defendant raised the sole issue of whether the trial court erred in admitting evidence the state did not disclose until the second day of trial. Court of Appeals concluded the state’s late disclosure did not impair his right to a fair trial.

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Opinions Dec. 27, 2010

December 27, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Paternity of M.F., et al.; J.F. v. W.M.
21A04-1002-JP-84
Juvenile. Affirms denial of mother’s petition to establish paternity with respect to M.F. Mother failed to prove that insemination incurred in such a way as to render the donor agreement unenforceable and void as against public policy. Reverses finding that a valid, enforceable contract existed that would prohibit an action to establish paternity of C.F., the second child born. Remands to grant mother’s petition to establish paternity with respect to C.F. Judge Crone dissents in part.
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Opinions Dec. 23, 2010

December 23, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Kevin Dortch
09-3260
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano
Criminal. Affirms statutory maximum of 240 months imprisonment for Dortch, who pled guilty and only appealed his sentence. After robbing a bank that was located inside a drugstore in Munster, he led police on two high-speed chases through the nearby residential neighborhoods. At issue was whether enough evidence was presented regarding an officer’s hospital visit following the car chase to show “serious bodily injury.”

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Opinions Dec. 22, 2010

December 22, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Trinity Homes LLC and Beazer Homes Investments LLC v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Company and Cincinnati Insurance Company
09-3613
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Reverses District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurers on the homebuilders’ suit alleging breach of contract and seeking a declaration that all of the insurers had a duty to provide coverage. The precedential landscape has changed regarding the claim against Ohio Casualty. Remands for reconsideration in light of Sheehan.

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Opinions Dec. 21, 2010

December 21, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lawrence Taylor

10-1304
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms Taylor’s sentences for bank robbery and for violating terms of his supervised release relating to an earlier bank robbery conviction, but orders a limited remand. The District Court erred by treating the policy statement recommendation in U.S.S.G. Section 7B1.3(f) as mandating consecutive sentencing for Taylor’s 2008 bank robbery case and his supervised release case.

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Opinions Dec. 20, 2010

December 20, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bruce R. Smith v. Morgan L. Smith
02A03-1005-DR-276
Domestic relation. Reverses division of marital property. The trial court abused its discretion by awarding Morgan more than 100 percent of the marital estate. Remands for a just and reasonable division of the marital estate not exceeding the net value of the estate.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2010

December 17, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Karl Schmidt Unisia Inc. v. International Union, United Automobile, et al.
09-4001
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of International Union, et al., on their counterclaim to compel arbitration. The collective bargaining agreement’s arbitration clause creates a presumption that the union’s grievance is arbitrable.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2010

December 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Hurst v. State of Indiana
49A02-1004-CR-378
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence obtained upon the execution of a search warrant. To the extent the trial court concluded that Eric Thomas was inherently credible simply because he was a cooperating citizen informant, the trial court erred. A texted photo to Thomas corroborated the hearsay and there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2010

December 15, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Joshua G. Nicoson v. State of Indiana
32S04-1003-CR-150
Criminal. Affirms five-year sentence enhancement for the use of a firearm following Nicoson's convictions of criminal confinement with a deadly weapon as a Class B felony. Holds that adding these years is consistent both with the statutes in question and with the prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2010

December 14, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Presbytery of Ohio Valley, Inc., et al. v. OPC, Inc., et al.
82A02-1003-MF-339
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses summary judgment in favor of appellees-defendants OPC Inc. and others in a property dispute between a local congregation and the national church. When the neutral principles of law approach is applied correctly, the appellants prevail. Remands with instructions.

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Opinions Dec. 13, 2010

December 13, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Involuntary Commitment of G.M.
33A01-1006-MH-325
Mental health. Holds that the committing court’s conclusion for the basis of its order to commit G.M.  – that he was incapable of providing himself food, clothing, shelter, or other essential human needs - wasn’t supported by the evidence. G.M. may be determined to be gravely disabled under another definition set forth in statute. Remands for a review of G.M.’s care and treatment.
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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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