Opinions

Opinions Sept. 30, 2010

September 30, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. James G. Lucas
91A05-1003-CR-247
Criminal. Reverses and remands Lucas’s motion to suppress results from a Datamaster chemical breath test in jail, following two failed portable breath tests in the field. Rules a portable breath test mouthpiece is not a foreign substance that will act to invalidate the results of a Datamaster.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2010

September 29, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Efren R. Diaz v. State of Indiana
20S05-0911-PC-521
Post conviction. Refusing to admit the chart on grounds of hearsay was an error. It was prepared by an expert witness of Diaz on the misinterpretations between what the court said in English and what the translator told Diaz in Spanish, and the witness’ expertise was hindered by its exclusion. The evidence before the post-conviction court doesn’t reveal whether Diaz was provided with accurate interpreting. Directs the trial court to commission its own translation of the plea hearing and the sentencing hearing to rehear such evidence to answer whether Diaz’s plea was voluntary and intelligent.
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Opinions Sept. 28, 2010

September 28, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Sarah Haag, et al. v. Mark Castro, The Indiana Youth Soccer Association, et al.
29A04-1001-CT-10
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Virginia Surety Co. Members of the Carmel Commotion Soccer Team traveled to Colorado for a soccer tournament. While in Colorado, the team decided to go on a white-water rafting trip as a team-building activity. While traveling to raft, the van collided with another vehicle and team members were injured. Virginia Surety argued that while the team was sanctioned to attend and compete at the tournament, the use of the van to go white-water rafting was not a use “in the business of the Named Insured” and Indiana Youth Soccer Association did not have knowledge of or authorize the rafting activity. Judge Riley dissents.
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Opinions Sept. 27, 2010

September 27, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian P. White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
53A01-0910-CR-515
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for murder.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2010

September 24, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Subpoena to Crisis Connection, Inc., State of Indiana v. Ronald Keith Fromme
19A05-0910-CR-602
Criminal. Grants rehearing for clarification and affirms original decision outlining the threshold a defendant must make before obtaining an in camera review of records that are privileged.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2010

September 23, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commitment of A.L.
49A02-1001-MH-76
Mental health. Affirms order of temporary commitment. Any error in the admission of evidence or consideration of Wishard’s argument as to A.L.’s dangerousness was not a blatant violation of fundamental fairness and didn’t cause substantial and apparent harm to her.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2010

September 22, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Rosalyn West v. Betty Wadlington,et al.
49S02-1009-CV-509
Civil. Reverses trial court’s grant of Larkin and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s motions to dismiss West’s defamation and invasion of privacy claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Holds that a trial court with general jurisdiction to adjudicate claims of defamation and invasion of privacy is not ousted of jurisdiction merely because a religious defense to the claims is asserted. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2010

September 21, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Max Koenig v. State of Indiana
42S04-1009-CR-505
Criminal. Affirms conviction of dealing in a schedule II controlled substance as a Class B felony. The admission of the laboratory report without letting Koenig confront the person who created it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt under Chapman v. California.
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Opinions Sept. 20, 2010

September 20, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Obed Kalwitz, Jr., et al. v. Eugene Kalwitz, et al.
46A03-0912-CV-574
Civil. Affirms small claims judgment in favor of siblings Eugene Kalwitz and Sharon Greiger in Obed Kalwitz Jr.’s suit alleging the siblings stole items from land that now belong to the siblings. Affirms ruling on counterclaim for $1,750 compensatory damages for abuse of process, $2,750 in punitive damages, and $900 in attorney’s fees. Obed and Rolene’s request for a change of judge was untimely, and their claim is barred by res judicata. Remands to the small claims court for a determination of the amount of appellate attorney’s fees and costs to which Eugene and Sharon are entitled.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2010

September 17, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Kenneth E. Lauter
55S00-0906-DI-267
Discipline. A per curiam decision publicly reprimands attorney Kenneth E. Lauter of Morgan County because he didn’t indicate to the client what the additional retainer should be or how it would be determined, thus violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.5 (b) and (c).
Justices Brent Dickson and Robert Rucker dissented, believing that the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission did not prove a charged violation by clear and convincing evidence and that the hearing officer correctly found no violation and recommended a finding in favor of Lauter.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2010

September 16, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court

Foundations of East Chicago, Inc., Successor by Merger to East Chicago Community Development Foundation, Inc. and Twin City Education Foundation, Inc. v. City of East Chicago
No. 49S02-0908-CV-00383
Civil. Justices granted a rehearing petition, holding that the city didn’t follow Indiana Appellate Rule 65(E) and was premature in filing a motion at the trial court level before a previous appellate ruling was certified. Justices found the trial court correctly denied the city’s request, and it kept intact its original opinion from May.

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Opinions Sept. 15, 2010

September 15, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Alexander Gatzimos, M.D. v. Boone County and State of Indiana
06A05-0911-CV-664
Civil. Grants the state’s motion to dismiss Dr. Gatzimos’ appeal of the trial court order denying his petition for expungement. Remands to the trial court to allow Gatzimos the opportunity to present admissible evidence as to whether his charges were dismissed because of mistaken identity; no offense was actually committed; or there was an absence of probable cause.
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Opinions Sept. 14, 2010

September 14, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Gerald L. Wilkerson v. State of Indiana
26A01-0909-CR-457
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of motion to suppress. Compliance with the Pirtle requirement (Pirtle v. State, 323 N.E.2d 634 (Ind. 1975)) was unnecessary and consent to pat-down search was valid.

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Opinions Sept. 13, 2010

September 13, 2010


Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin Moncrief v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1004-PC-245
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

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Opinions Sept. 10, 2010

September 10, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joseph Finch, David E. Hensley, and Peter W. Mungovan v. Bart Peterson, individually and in his official capacity, et al.
09-2676
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch.
Civil. Affirms denial of the city officials’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a suit filed by three white officers alleging discrimination in promotions. The 1978 consent decree between the Indianapolis Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice does not operate to confer qualified immunity on city officials who were involved in making the challenged promotions. Nothing in the decree required them to take race into consideration when making promotions.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2010

September 9, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Matter of the Estate of Harry L. Rickert
18S04-1002-CV-118
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of Taylor, who was Rickert’s power of attorney, that she receive the money from accounts in which she was a joint holder. The presumption is that Taylor’s use of her power of attorney to benefit herself made those accounts invalid, and she failed to overcome that presumption to allow her to inherit the money. Remands with direction to order restoration to the estate of bank accounts owned of record by Rickert and Taylor that were created through use of Taylor’s power of attorney from Rickert and lacking any support documentation indicating participation by Rickert.
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Opinions Sept. 8, 2010

September 8, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Letecia D. Brown v. Automotive Components Holdings, LLC and Ford Motor Co.
09-1641
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment dismissing Brown’s FMLA claim following her termination from Ford. The undisputed facts show Brown was absent without leave after failing to give proper FMLA notice for an extension of a previously requested leave period.
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Opinions Sept. 7, 2010

September 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Hatter, et al. v. Pierce Manufacturing, Inc.
49A02-0907-CV-659
Civil. Affirms jury trial and verdict in favor of Pierce Manufacturing in the Hatters’ product liability action. Hatter failed to exhaust one of his peremptory challenges and has not shown both of his challenges for cause were improperly denied. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in the giving of jury instructions or in excluding evidence and did not err by denying Hatter’s partial motion for judgment on the evidence.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2010

September 3, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Trent L. Chapin v. Fort-Rohr Motors Inc.
09-1347
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Reverses denial of Fort-Rohr’s motion for judgment as a matter of law after a jury found in Chapin’s favor in his retaliation suit. Fort-Rohr was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Chapin did not produce sufficient evidence to support an actual or constructive discharge.

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Opinions Sept. 2, 2010

September 2, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Conwell Construction v. Abbey Road Development, LLC, et al. (NFP)
49A05-0912-CV-741
Civil. Affirms trial court grant of permission to amend its counterclaim to assert a claim for actual damages.

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Opinions Aug. 31, 2010

August 31, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc. v. ACE American Insurance Co.
10-1073
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of diversity suit against insurer. ACE had no duty to provide Hayes Lemmerz International’s lawyers with legal advice and didn’t breach its duty to defend by failing to advise HLI that its law firm wasn’t defending the suit properly.
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Opinions Aug. 30, 2010

August 30, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jennifer K. Howard
09-3840
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of wire fraud and mail fraud. Holds that even if an indictment names particular victims, the government need not prove intent to harm those named victims. The government proved that Howard intended to defraud the scheme’s victims, and such intent was established by examining the circumstances of the scheme, not by who was specifically named in the indictment.
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Opinions Aug. 27, 2010

August 27, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian S. Adcock v. State of Indiana
47A01-0912-CR-591
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony child molesting, two counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor, and finding that Adcock is a repeat sexual offender. The trial court didn’t err in permitting the prosecutor to analogize the standard of proof to a jigsaw puzzle during voir dire or in allowing the state to amend the repeat sexual offender notice.

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Opinions Aug. 26, 2010

August 26, 2010
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, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Stephenson failed to carry his burden of proving prejudice, even on the premise that his counsel should have objected to the stun belt. The question of prejudice from Stephenson being required to wear the stun belt at the penalty hearing will require further consideration of the District Court on remand.
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Opinions Aug. 25, 2010

August 25, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jorge Quintero, a/k/a Samuel Munoz, and Claudia Andrade Martinez
09-2715, 09-2788
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judges Rudy Lozano and James T. Moody.
Criminal. Dismisses Quintero’s appeal of his sentence after pleading guilty to charges related to a bank robbery and unlawful entering on waiver grounds. Affirms Martinez’s conviction and sentence for bank robbery and unlawfully remaining in the U.S. The jury instructions given at Martinez’s trial regarding aiding and abetting were correct statements of the law.
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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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