Opinions

Opinions Oct. 20, 2011

October 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Beth Ann Johnson, Mother of: Emily Johnson, Deceased Minor Child v. Lance Jacobs, Steven J. Cummins, Stacy Cummings, Lawrence County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Tony Newbold, Lawrence Co. Comm.
47A01-1102-CT-35
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for all the defendants in Johnson’s suit for damages in daughter Emily’s wrongful death. Her ex-husband Eric’s intentional criminal acts were a superseding intervening cause between any alleged negligence of the defendants and Emily’s death.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2011

October 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Alan Massey v. State of Indiana
49A05-1012-PC-808
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Even though the jury was improperly instructed regarding the elements of voluntary manslaughter, Massey wasn’t entitled to the voluntary manslaughter instruction because his girlfriend’s words ending their relationship do not constitute sufficient provocation to induce sudden heat. He also failed to carry his burden to show that the sentencing issue was significant.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2011

October 18, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bruce Barton v. Zimmer Inc.
10-2212
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Zimmer Inc. on Barton’s claims for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and for interference with his right to reinstatement under the Family Medical Leave Act. Barton’s ADEA claims fail for lack of causation and any available remedy. There is also no evidence of retaliation, and he has no claim under FMLA because when Barton returned to work after his medical leave, the company assigned him equivalent duties without regard to his medical leave.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2011

October 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Hooten v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1101-CR-11
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder and Class A felony attempted murder.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2011

October 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cedric Tharpe v. State of Indiana
49A04-1101-CR-24
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder. Tharpe didn’t show the judge who presided over his case was biased or prejudiced, nor did he demonstrate his trial was unfair. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying his motion for continuance and there is sufficient evidence to support his conviction.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2011

October 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George Michael True v. State of Indiana
39A04-1102-CR-37
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. There was no serious evidentiary dispute about whether the battery was committed in the presence of the children. Instructing the jury that it could convict True of a Class A misdemeanor domestic battery instead of as a Class D felony improperly invited the jury to reach a “compromise” verdict. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 12, 2011

October 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Julie Nunley, n/k/a Waldrath v. Jeremy A. Nunley
68A04-1105-DR-269
Domestic relation. Affirms that Jeremy Nunley is entitled to a reduction of his child support obligation due to the decrease in his income due to his incarceration for Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent. Declines to create an exception to the rules set forth in Clark and Lambert for individuals incarcerated for the crime of nonsupport of a dependent.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2011

October 11, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Roger Loughry, also known as Mayorroger
10-2967
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence
Criminal. Reverses District Court’s decision to allow admission as evidence “hard core” pornography without examining it or without explaining its reasoning under Rule 403. Holds that the material was highly inflammatory and held only minimal probative value, but created extreme prejudice against Loughry. Remands to the District Court for proceedings consistent with opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2011

October 10, 2011
The state and federal appellate courts are closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2011

October 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Fernbach v. State of Indiana
69A01-1103-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms 60-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony attempted murder, holding that the jury’s rejection of Fernbach’s insanity defense was not erroneous.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2011

October 6, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Putnam County Sheriff v. Pamela Price
60S01-1012-CV-665
Civil. Reverses trial court’s denial of the Putnam County Sheriff’s motion to dismiss Price’s negligence action for failure to state a claim. A county sheriff’s department that neither owns, maintains or controls a county road does not owe a common law duty to warn the public of known hazardous conditions upon the roadway. Justices David and Dickson concur in result.
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Opinions Oct. 5, 2011

October 5, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
P.J. v. State of Indiana

49A05-1102-JV-121
Juvenile. Affirms restitution order following adjudication, after a guilty plea, as a delinquent child for committing what would be Class B felony burglary if committed by an adult. P.J. waived his right to have the juvenile court inquire into his ability to pay, as he has acknowledged such ability in his plea agreement.
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Opinions Oct. 4, 2011

October 4, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Saba Tesfamariam v. Moghes Woldehaimanot
49A02-1009-DR-1050
Domestic relation. Affirms decree of dissolution of marriage, which awarded father Moghes Woldehaimanot full custody of the minor children. The trial court abused its discretion by failing to establish that mother Saba Tesfamariam’s interpreter was qualified and by failing to administer an oath to the interpreter to provide an accurate translation. The failure to establish the qualifications or to administer an oath is not a fundamental error, and the trial court’s errors in the instant case were not fundamental.

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Opinions Oct. 3, 2011

October 3, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kristine P. Purcell v. Bank of America
10-3975
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of Purcell’s common-law claims against the bank without prejudice to allow her to refile in state court. Remands with instructions to enter judgment for the bank on all of Purcell’s state and federal claims. Section 1681t(b)(1)(F) and Section 16811h(e)of 15 U.S.C. are compatible, and Section 1681(t)(b) would preempt Purcell’s state-law theories.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2011

September 30, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Franklin Electric Company, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development
93S02-1102-EX-89
Agency appeal. Affirms determination of the liability administrative law judge that Franklin Electric Co. and its two newly created entities Franklin Electric Manufacturing and Franklin Electric Sales are a single employer. The manufacturing and sales entities did not acquire a distinct and segregable portion of Franklin Electric’s business, so they did not qualify as “employers” under the laws governing Indiana’s unemployment compensation arrangements.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2011

September 29, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cedar Farm, Harrison County Inc. v. Louisville Gas and Electric Co.
10-2234
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Louisville Gas and Electric on Cedar Farm’s attempt to eject Louisville Gas and Electric from its property and to terminate an oil and gas lease for violations of certain portions of the lease. The lease allows for a damages remedy and Cedar Farm hasn’t show that damages are inadequate to compensate for the harm to its property.

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Opinions Sept. 28, 2011

September 28, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Desmond Turner v. State of Indiana
49S00-0912-CR-565
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder, criminal confinement, robbery and burglary, and the sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder convictions, plus a term of years for the other convictions. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting firearms and tool mark examiner Michael Putzek’s testimony, and the admission of challenged testimony did not violate Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b). The trial court erred in admitting testimony on a statement made by Turner’s mother, but that does not require reversal.
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Opinions Sept. 27, 2011

September 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.B.; E.B. v. IDCS (NFP)
79A05-1102-JT-102
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2011

September 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angela K. Farno v. Ansure Mortuaries of Indiana, LLC, et al.
41A05-1002-PL-104
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Farno’s motion for class certification on superiority grounds regarding the alleged looting of cemetery trusts that had been funded from proceeds of purchases of pre-need burial services. The trial court did not err in finding the receiver’s action provided a superior method to recovery any of the missing trust funds.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2011

September 23, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Corrine R. Finnerty, as Successor Personal Representaive of the Estate of Dora Grace Lee, deceased v. Joseph A. Colussi and the Colussi Law Office
39A01-1011-ES-622
Estate, supervised. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Joseph Colussi and Colussi Law Office on legal malpractice claim, holding that genuine issues of material fact exist and preclude such judgment. Remands for proceedings consistent with opinion. 
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2011

September 22, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
An-Hung Yao and Yu-Ting Lin v. State of Indiana
35A02-1006-CR-678
Criminal. Affirms order dismissing the Class D felony counterfeiting charges against Yao and Lin and reverses the denial of their motion to dismiss counts of Class D felony theft and Class C felony corrupt business influence. The trial court lacked territorial jurisdiction because there is no evidence any conduct that is an element of the alleged offenses occurred in Indiana. Remands for the trial court to dismiss the remaining charges.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2011

September 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George W. Giltner, Jr. v. Betty L. Ivers, Martin Zacharias, Jr., and Bradi L. Zacharias
10A05-1010-PL-662
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s confirmation of a report that partitioned 16.5 acres of a 100-acre parcel to Giltner, who owned an undivided 20 percent interest in the parcel. Giltner has not shown that he was prejudiced by the division outlined in the report.
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Opinions Sept. 20, 2011

September 20, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Rod L. Avery and Marshall K. Avery v. Trina R. Avery
49S05-1102-PL-76
Civil plenary. Affirms default judgment entered against Rod and Marshall Avery. The Indiana Trial Rules apply to will contest actions, and the failure to file an answer or responsive pleading in accordance with Trial Rule 7 may result in a default judgment.
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2011

September 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Haegert v. Margaret McMullan
82A04-1008-CT-470
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Margaret McMullan in John Haegert’s action alleging defamation, tortious breach of his employment contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Haegert failed to show how he was injured by the contents of McMullan’s file as his termination was based only upon an incident involving McMullan. There is not properly designated evidence in the record that McMullan intended to cause Haegert emotional distress.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2011

September 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jon Paul Tongate v. State of Indian
a
29A02-1102-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property. The magistrate that presided over Tongate’s jury trial was not required to rule on the motion to correct error, and Tongate’s conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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