Opinions

Opinions Oct. 11, 2010

October 11, 2010
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court were closed today in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 8, 2010

October 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Richmond State Hospital, et al. v. Paula Brattain, et al.
49A02-0908-CV-718
Civil. Reverses finding that the merit employees, represented by Veregge and Strong, are entitled to 20 years of back pay and remands with instructions to recalculate the merit employees’ back pay based on the time period beginning 10 days before the July 29, 1993, complaint was filed and ending when the state abolished the split class system. Instructs the trial court to determine whether the state abolished the split class system on Sept. 12 or Sept. 19, 1993. Affirms in all other respects.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2010

October 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dorris Merriweather III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-0912-CR-691
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting and Class C felony child molesting.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2010

October 6, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles J. Kennedy v. State of Indiana
89A04-0907-CR-380
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and 27-year sentence for Class A felony robbery and Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery. Rules the trial court properly admitted DNA evidence and properly allowed testimony of a witness not discovered until mid-trial. Also rules sentence is appropriate.
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Opinions Oct. 5. 2010

October 5, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Wayne D. Kubsch v. State of Indiana
71S00-0708-PD-335
Post-conviction. Affirms judgment of the post-conviction court. Kubsch appeals, raising several issues for review, nine of which are waived because they were known and available at the time of Kubsch’s direct appeal and another three issues are barred because of the doctrine of res judicata. Regarding claims the prosecutor failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, rules information was not material and he failed to establish the nine requirements for obtaining a new trial due to newly discovered evidence so his Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), claim fails. Also rules Kubsch failed to demonstrate that counsel rendered ineffective assistance.
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Opinions Oct. 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Donald L. Pruitt v. State of Indiana
55A01-0912-CR-597
Criminal. Affirms denial of Pruitt’s motion to suppress, who was charged with operating a motor vehicle after driving privileges had been forfeited for life as a Class C felony. The lack of limiting language in Indiana Code Section 9-30-10-17 supports that Indiana Code sections 9-21-18-1 to 9-21-18-15 do not bar law enforcement officers from investigating violations in private parking lots in the absence of a contractual agreement with the property owner. Concludes the police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop Pruitt for driving without headlights.

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Opinions Oct. 1, 2010

October 1, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Annex Books, Inc., et al. v. City of Indianapolis, Ind.
09-4156
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms preliminary injunction of ordinance requiring adult bookstores to be closed certain hours. The single article introduced by Indianapolis didn’t support its argument and the evidence of arrest data near the plaintiffs’ store appears to support the plaintiffs.
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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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  1. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  2. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  3. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  4. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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