Opinions Jan. 14, 2013

January 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Deantoine M. Harris v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Opinions Jan. 11, 2013

January 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dejuan T. Lowe v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Dismisses as untimely Lowe’s appeal of sentence following guilty pleas to multiple felony charges of burglary and attempted burglary.

Opinions Jan. 10, 2013

January 10, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Andre Gonzalez v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition to remove the lifetime registration requirement and remands for further proceedings. Finds the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Indiana Constitution prohibits retroactive application of a lifetime registration requirement for Gonzalez, whose requirement to register for life was added while he was completing the 10-year required registration as a sex offender that was in place at the time due to his child solicitation conviction. Justice Rucker concurs in result.

Opinions Jan. 9, 2013

January 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael D. Weir
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. All the judges on the original panel have voted to deny the petition for rehearing and no judge in regular active service asked for a vote on the petition for rehearing en banc. The petition is therefore denied. Weir complained that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when a police officer seized $6,655 from him during a traffic stop.


Opinions Jan. 8, 2013

January 8, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Arbor Homes LLC
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Magistrate Judge Tim A Baker. Affirms District Court ruling in favor of West Bend Mutual Insurance that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Arbor Homes. Arbor Homes agreed to a settlement with homeowners without obtaining the prior consent of West Bend after raw sewage backed up into their brand new home.

Opinions Jan. 7, 2013

January 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: C.A. & Z.A. (Minor Children), and H.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.

Opinions Jan. 4, 2013

January 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Daniel E. Riley
Criminal. Reverses dismissal of Class B misdemeanor battery charges. Because the information was proper even with Indiana Gaming Agent Audrey Smoot as an affiant, and because there appears to have been no other basis for the dismissal (other than possibly a mistaken belief that an unauthorized investigation would affect the information), the trial court abused its discretion in granting the dismissal.

Opinions Jan. 3, 2013

January 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Juan Ramirez-Fuentes
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms convictions and 295-month sentence for possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Finds no plain error in admitting testimony about the possession of firearms, but testimony classifying the drug as “Mexican” methamphetamine shouldn’t have been allowed. Finds judge considered family situation when sentencing Ramirez-Fuentes.

Opinions Dec. 31, 2012

January 2, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund v. Paul Bryson
Miscellaneous. Affirms original opinion that Bryson’s on-duty injury was a “covered impairment” making him eligible for Class 1 impairment disability benefits even though he had a pre-existing condition.

Opinions Dec. 28, 2012

December 28, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
James M. Brinkley and Stephanie L. Brinkley v. Michael Haluska, P.E., d/b/a Retro Tech, et al.
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s summary judgment that Donald Gindelberger is a good faith purchaser for value of a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette because the Brinkleys were in the best position to prevent the allegedly fraudulent sale and did not do so. Also, it concluded the BMV is immune from liability.

Opinions Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Fairly W. Earls
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of making a false statement on a passport application, aggravated identity theft and knowingly transferring a stolen identification document. Affirms the admission of certain evidence at Earls’ trial and finds the District Court did not err in its calculation of his offense level.

Opinions Dec. 21, 2012

December 21, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven E. Malloch v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting for an incident involving his stepdaughter. There was no prosecutorial misconduct and the trial court did not err by admitting Malloch’s apology letter to C.P. Although Malloch did not receive a perfect trial, the appellate judges are confident he received a fair trial.

Opinions Dec. 20, 2012

December 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Beller, a minor, by his next friend and mother, Melissa Welch, et al. v. Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County Ind., d/b/a Wishard Memorial Hospital d/b/a Wishard Ambulance Service
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the defendants on the plaintiffs lawsuit alleging violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by failing to stabilize Welch and her son during an emergency medical situation. Because the Wishard ambulance was operating under the EMS protocol at the time the plaintiffs were in it, the plaintiffs had not come to the Wishard emergency department under the EMTALA, and the plaintiffs’ claim cannot succeed.

Opinions Dec. 19, 2012

December 19, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Norman W. Bernstein, et al. v. Patricia A. Bankert, et al. and Auto Owners Mutual Insurance Co.
11-1501, 11-1523
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of counts I, II, III and VII. In Count I, the trustees have made a timely CERCLA claim, under 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(B), to recover costs incurred pursuant to the 2002 AOC. The trustees’ Count II “companion claim” for a declaratory judgment of CERCLA liability is therefore also reinstated. Finds that the Indiana ELA claim contained in Count III is timely, and that the declaratory judgment claim contained in Count VII is not moot. The District Court committed no abuse of discretion in its handling of the summary judgment briefing process. Finally, affirms the District Court’s denial of Auto Owners’ motion for summary judgment on preclusion grounds. The trustees’ suit is reinstated and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Opinions Dec. 18, 2012

December 18, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Schepers v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal a trial court denial of a motion to dismiss several drug charges and a Class C felony count of neglect of a dependent. The court held that Schepers’ filing of a pro se motion for a speedy trial and motion to dismiss for violation of Criminal Rule 4 were filed while he was represented by a public defender and that he did not clearly and unequivocally assert his right to self-representation. Remands cause for trial.

Opinions Dec. 17, 2012

December 17, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Knight v. Allstate Property and Casualty Ins. Co. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Allstate.

Opinions Dec. 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brenda Alexander v. Donald Alexander
Domestic relations. Affirms in a divided opinion the trial court denial of a motion to correct error of the court’s omission of an award for incapacity maintenance for Brenda Alexander. She claimed that testimony of her disabilities and court findings supported an award, but the majority held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on ruling that such an award was not warranted.

Opinions Dec. 13, 2012

December 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of Rudy Escobedo (deceased) (Raquel Hanic, Personal Representative of Estate) v. Officer Brian Martin, et al.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms jury verdict in favor of the defendants on the estate’s excessive force claim against the police and the city of Fort Wayne and grant of judgment as a matter of laws on qualified immunity grounds, as well as summary judgment in favor of officers Martin and Brown on the excessive force claim.

Opinions Dec. 12, 2012

December 12, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ponziano Construction Services, Inc. v. Quadri Enterprises, LLC
Civil collection. Reverses award of $16,000 to Ponziano on its breach of contract claim against Quadri and the denial of Ponziano’s rquest to foreclose on its mechanic’s lien. Affirms the award of $8,000 in attorney fees to Ponziano and remands with instructions to the trial court to enter judgment in favor of Ponziano for $48,483.43, order sale of the property subject to the $45,549.43 lien, and determine the existence, extent, and outcome of a potential priority dispute between Ponziano and Wells Fargo.

Opinions Dec. 11, 2012

December 11, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Paul Henry Gingerich v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder and remands for further proceedings. The juvenile court abused its discretion when it denied Gingerich’s request for a continuance.

Opinions Dec. 10, 2012

December 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Vance v. Francisco Lozano, et al.
Small claim. Reverses judgment in favor of Rock Solid and Lozano on Vance’s breach of contract claim. Finds the parties entered into an enforceable settlement agreement.

Opinions Dec. 7, 2012

December 7, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry L. Brown v. Tammy S. Brown
Civil plenary. Reverses civil judgment in favor of Terry Brown’s ex-wife. The trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence regarding criminal offenses he committed more than 20 years ago. Remands for further proceedings.

Opinions Dec. 6, 2012

December 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Connie Yates, Rick Yates, Jason Tibbs, and Pauline Tibbs v. Levi Wayne Kemp

Civil tort. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment to Kemp on the Yateses’ and Tibbses’ claims for nuisance. Based on the plain language of I.C. 14-22-31.5-6 and its context in the act as a whole, Kemp is not shielded by section 6 from liability related to his neighbors’ nuisance claims arising from noise pollution. There is also a material fact as to whether Kemp has caused his neighbors to experience inconvenience, annoyance or discomfort.

Opinions Dec. 5, 2012

December 5, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Gregory Wolfe
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of bank theft and interstate transportation of stolen goods for Wolfe’s role in a copper theft scheme and his 88-month sentence, followed by concurrent three-year terms of supervised release, and order of more than $3 million in restitution. Wolfe argued that he was deprived of a fair trial because of statements the prosecutor made during closing argument. He also challenged the sentence and restitution order. Wolfe’s contentions lack merit.

Opinions Dec. 4, 2012

December 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerry Vanzyll v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands to the trial court convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felonies of possession of meth and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The court affirmed the drug convictions but ordered the resisting conviction vacated because it held there was insufficient evidence to prove that Vanzyll fled.
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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.