Opinions

Opinions July 30, 2010

July 30, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Anthony L. Vaughn
09-3789
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms 180-month sentence after pleading guilty to committing aggravated assault on a federal officer. The District Court reasonably explained why the sentence that was outside the guidelines range was appropriate.

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Opinions July 29, 2010

July 29, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Louis and Karen Metro Family LLC, et al. v. Lawrenceburg Conservancy District, et al.
09-2418, -2482
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussman.
Civil. Affirms the City of Lawrenceburg and the Lawrenceburg Conservancy District breached their contract with the Metros to convey land to the Metros based on the option contract their company held. Vacates decision to reform the contract to change the date by which the option could be exercised from 18 months after completion of the project to 18 months after the date of the District Court opinion. Remands for further proceedings to calculate damages and to assess costs against the district and city.
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Opinions July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jamarkus Gorman
09-3010
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of perjury after testifying falsely before a grand jury. There is ample evidence to support the finding Gorman perjured himself with regard to the possession of a Bentley. The evidence was properly admitted, albeit as direct evidence rather than inextricable intertwinement evidence, and its probative value was not substantially outweighed by any risk of unfair prejudice. 

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Opinions July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Marion County Coroner’s Office v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and John Linehan
09-3595
Petition for review of an order of the EEOC. Upholds the EEOC determination that Coroner Ackles’ stated reason for taking action against Linehan was pretextual and that the EEOC had jurisdiction over Linehan’s retaliation claim.
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Opinions July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Mark Ciesiolka
09-2787
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Reverses conviction of knowingly attempting to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity. Because the District Court failed to explain its ruling that the four-factor test for introducing evidence of prior acts under Rule 404(b) was satisfied, and since the evidence introduced in unconstrained fashion is perhaps excessively prejudicial in light of its probative value, reverses and remands for a new trial. Judge Ripple dissents.

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Opinions July 23, 2010

July 23, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
David K. Murphy v. State of Indiana
18A02-1002-CR-213
Criminal. Reverses and remands trial court’s decision denying Murphy educational credit time. Murphy contended the trial court is the proper authority to determine whether to grant educational credit time for receiving his general educational development diploma prior to sentencing. The Court of Appeals agreed.

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Opinions July 22, 2010

July 22, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Daniel A. Donald v. State of Indiana
23A04-0912-CR-685
Criminal. Reverses and remands trial court’s denial of Donald’s request for a competency evaluation prior to his probation revocation hearing. Donald contended he was entitled to a competency evaluation pursuant to Indiana statute and the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. The Court of Appeals disagreed with Donald’s statutory argument, but agreed the Due Process Clause may warrant a competency evaluation prior to a probation revocation hearing.

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Opinions July 21, 2010

July 21, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Adoption of A.M.; M.M. v. M.M. & A.C.
53A05-1002-AD-71
Adoption. Reverses denial of grandfather M.M.’s uncontested petition to adopt his biological granddaughter A.M. Based upon the reasoning in K.S.P., the idea that the best interests of the child is the primary concern in an adoption proceeding, the purposes of the adoption statutes as stated by the legislature, and the trial court’s initial determination that adoption was in the best interests of A.M., preventing the adoption in this specific case on the basis of Ind. Code Section 31-19-15-1 and Ind. Code Section 31-19-15-2 would cause an absurd result not intended by the legislature. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Najam dissents.
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Opinions July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Brenda Chaney v. Plainfield Healthcare Center
09-3661
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses the District Court’s order of summary judgment in favor of Plainfield Healthcare Center. Finds that Plainfield’s racial preference policy for patients violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That policy, along with other incidents that occurred before Plainfield fired Chaney, contributed to a hostile work environment, and should be considered in determining whether Chaney was fired because of her race.
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Opinions July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Isaac Florian and Jeffrey Florian, as limited guardian of Isaac, an adult. v. GATX Rail Corporation
91A04-1002-PL-77
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of GATX Rail Corp. in Issac Florian’s negligence claim after he drove into a GATX tank car that didn’t have retro-reflective sheeting. GATX was in compliance with either retro-reflective implementation schedule even though the train car in question didn’t have sheeting yet. Florian’s common-law negligence claim is preempted by federal regulations set forth in 49.C.F.R. part 224.
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Opinions July 16, 2010

July 16, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tom George, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
09-3667
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of the plaintiffs’ entire second amendment complaint alleging the NCAA’s ticket-allocation process is an illegal lottery.
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Opinions July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Crisis Connection, Inc. v. Ronald Keith Fromme
19A05-0910-CR-602
Criminal. Affirms order Crisis Connections produce records to the court for an in camera review. An in camera review properly balances Fromme’s constitutional rights and the victims’ interest in privacy.
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Opinions July 14, 2010

July 14, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Chubb Insurance Group, and Total Interior Systems America, LLC v. Elizabeth Howell

93A02-0912-EX-1287
Civil. Reverses penalties assessed against Eastern Alliance by the Full Worker’s Compensation Board due to a lack of diligence. The board’s factual findings demonstrate that Eastern Alliance reasonably investigated the claim and communicated with the parties, and afterwards it reasonably determined that it was not liable for the claim. Vacates penalties assessed against the company and remands that the board determine and enter an order regarding whether Chubb Insurance should be held responsible for the entirety of the penalty and attorneys’ fees awarded for its lack of diligence.
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Opinions July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Akens v. State of Indiana
49A05-0912-CR-687
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following guilty plea to child molesting. The trial court’s statement that Akens could appeal his sentence wasn’t made until after the court had accepted the plea agreement and entered Akens’ sentence. The agreement included his express waiver of his right to appeal his sentence.
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Opinions July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
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Opinions July 9, 2010

July 9, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Freddie L. Byers Jr. v. James Basinger, Superintendent of the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
09-1833
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Allen Sharp
Civil. Affirms District Court's denial of Byers' habeas petition. After a jury found Byers guilty of murder, attempted murder and robbery, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. The Indiana Court of Appeals denied his petition for post-conviction relief, and the Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer. The District Court later denied Byers’ habeas petition, in which Byers argued that his trial counsel performed deficiently. The 7th Circuit granted Byers a certificate of appealability on the question whether he had been denied effective assistance of counsel. The 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial because, even if Byers successfully exhausted his claim, it lacks merit.
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Opinions July 8, 2010

July 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals

Marcus Lewis v. State of Indiana
49A02-0909-CR-920
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Lewis received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because counsel failed to timely file a written request for a jury trial. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions July 7, 2010

July 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of: A.C. v. State of Indiana

49A04-0912-JV-682
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement if committed by an adult. A.C.’s simple failure to stand, without more, amounts to passive inaction and seems analogous to the failure to present one’s arms for handcuffing, which the Indiana Supreme Court has said does not constitute forcible resistance.
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Opinions July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derrick Bush v. State of Indiana
49A02-0907-CR-682
Criminal. After considering state’s claims of waiver as presented in its petition for rehearing, reaffirms original opinion reversing Bush’s conviction of carrying a handgun without a license. Court of Appeals originally reversed conviction after it held a canine sniff and resulting warrantless search of Bush’s automobile violated the Fourth Amendment because the state did not meet its burden of showing the traffic stop was not unreasonably prolonged or there was independent reasonable suspicion to justify the canine sniff.

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Opinions July 2, 2010

July 2, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifton Mauricio v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1002-PC-130
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Luiz Alves v. Old National Bank f/k/a St. Joseph Capital Bank
71A03-0909-CV-416
Civil. Affirms denial of Alves’ Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion. Because he filed his motion more than one year after the trial court granted summary judgment for Old National Bank and his earlier appeal of that judgment doesn’t toll the 1-year limit applicable to motions brought pursuant to subsections (1)-(4), his motion is untimely. In addition, the evidence on appeal doesn’t show the bank owed a duty to Alves or that the bank breached a duty by conspiring with his former business partner to remove him from their company.
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Opinions June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
League of Women Voters, et al. v. Todd Rokita

49S02-1001-CV-50
Civil. Affirms trial court dismissal of challenge to state’s voter identification law. The case presents only facial constitutional challenges. It is within the power of the legislature to require voters to present photo ID at the polls. Justice Boehm dissents.
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Opinions June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Andre Peoples v. State of Indiana
79S02-0912-CR-549
Criminal. Affirms finding Peoples is a habitual offender. People’s instant dealing offense is to be counted in calculating the total number of unrelated felony convictions an individual has for drug dealing. While a single felony drug conviction is not enough to qualify a person for habitual offender status, a second such conviction is, be it a prior conviction or the instant offense.
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Opinions June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Richard Patrick Wilson and Billy Don Wilson v. Gene Isaacs, Sheriff of Cass County, and Brad Craven
09S05-1003-CV-149
Civil. Reverses grant of summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ liability claims against the sheriff for the conduct of Deputy Brad Craven. Affirms summary judgment for claims against Craven personally. Holds that a law enforcement officer's use of force in excess of the reasonable force authorized by statute is not shielded from liability under the "enforcement of a law" immunity provided in Indiana Code § 34-13-3-3(8) and that genuine issues of fact exist, precluding summary judgment. Chief Justice Shepard dissents without opinion.
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Opinions June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. v. Peter S. Bezich, individually and on behalf of a class of others similarly situated
10-8013
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen
Civil. Remands to state court. Concludes Bezich’s claim “relates to the rights, duties, ... and obligations relating to or created by or pursuant to ... [a] security,” as defined in the 1933 Act, therefore the District Court has no jurisdiction.

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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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