Opinions

Opinions May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Steven B. Geller
49S00-1106-DI-318
Attorney discipline. Disbars Geller for 12 violations of the Rules of Professional conduct, including violations arising from his physical confrontation at the courthouse with an ex-client who he believed owed him money. Disbarment is warranted in light of Geller’s history of misconduct, unsuccessful prior attempt at rehabilitation, inability to manage anger, and dishonesty toward the Court and the Disciplinary Commission. Justice Mark Massa concurred in part and dissented in part and would have recommended a three-year suspension without automatic reinstatement.
 
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Opinions May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Hoosier Roll Shop Services, LLC v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1104-TA-29
Tax. Grants summary judgment in favor of Hoosier Roll and against the Department of State Revenue. Finds Hoosier Roll produces other tangible personal property when it grinds and calibrates its customers’ work rolls.
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Opinions May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Tammy Sue Harper
79S02-1405-CR-334
Criminal. Affirms grant of Harper’s motion for a sentence modification sought more than 365 days after she was originally sentenced. The prosecutor’s conduct and communications adequately conveyed the “approval of the prosecuting attorney” required in I.C. 35-38-1-17(b).
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Opinions May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In re Mental Health Actions for A.S., Sara Townsend
10S01-1402-MH-113
Mental health. Reverses finding that Sara Townsend was in indirect civil contempt after completing an application to initiate immediate emergency treatment for her co-worker, A.S. The trial court lacked statutory authority to find her in contempt and her actions did not place her under the trial court’s authority to impose sanctions as an inherent power of the judiciary.
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Opinions May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
West Ohio II, LLC v. Marion County Assessor, Marion County Treasurer, and Marion County Auditor
49T10-1404-TA-9
Tax. Grants the county’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction West Ohio II’s petition asking the Tax Court to enjoin the collection of property taxes related to a disputed portion of its $39 million assessment. Injunctive relief cannot be granted before an original tax appeal has been initiated.
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Opinions May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Advanced Tactical Ordnance Systems Inc. v. Real Action Paintball Inc. and K.T. Tran
13-3005
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses finding that the court has personal jurisdiction and that Advanced Technical was entitled to a preliminary injunction. Remands with directions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. There is no evidence that defendant Real Action has the necessary minimum contacts with Indiana to support specific jurisdiction.
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Opinions May 8, 2014

May 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Belinda Douglas v. Neil Spicer and L.S.
32A01-1309-JP-403
Juvenile. Affirms order that Spicer pay $6,600 in back child support. The trial court did not err when it determined that father’s court-ordered child support obligation terminated after 33 weeks in October 2005.
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Opinions May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Mayor Gregory Ballard v. Maggie Lewis, John Barth, and Vernon Brown
49S00-1311-PL-716
Civil plenary. Reverses partial summary judgment to Maggie Lewis, holding Mayor Greg Ballard is entitled to summary judgment on redistricting ordinance issue. Justices exercise judicial restraint and leave redistricting in the hands of the two branches of local government responsible for the task. Also reverses any order requiring Ballard to pay part of the cost of a master brought in on the issue.
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Opinions May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cung Hnin v. TOA (USA), LLC
13-3658
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of TOA on Cung Hnin’s claims of discrimination based on national origin and retaliation after his firing from TOA. Hnin presented no evidence suggesting TOA officials did not believe their reasons for firing him after employees raised concerns about his behavior. Likewise, Hnin had not presented circumstantial evidence that would permit a jury to infer that TOA retaliated against him for voicing his concerns about the promotion of ethnic Chin workers.
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Opinions May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014
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Opinions May 2, 2014

May 2, 2014
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sarah E. Frey, Kevin Enright and Protect Our Woods Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency and Gina McCarthy, Administrator
13-2142
Civil. Affirms District Court rulings of summary judgment in favor of EPA and denial of motion for U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young to disqualify himself based on prior rulings. Young correctly found plaintiffs’ motions were moot because a Bloomington PCB cleanup is ongoing, because plaintiffs are not prevailing parties or parties to the original consent decree, and as such they also are not entitled to attorney fees. Young’s decision not to disqualify himself did not deny plaintiffs due process.
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Opinions May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Alva Electric, Inc., Arc Construction Co., Inc., Danco Construction, Inc., Deig Bros. Lumber & Construction Co., Inc., et al. v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation and EVSC Foundation, Inc.
82S01-1307-PL-473
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the antitrust claim. Reverses summary judgment for the defendants on the issue of a public bidding violation. Holds the procedure employed by the school corporation to renovate one of its buildings violated Indiana’s Public Work Statute, but not the Antitrust Act. Remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of the taxpayers who brought the lawsuit as well as a declaration that the transactions by the school corporation violated the Public Work Statute.
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Opinions April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. James V. Carroll
13-2600
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress following Carroll’s guilty plea to one count of possession of child pornography and six counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The information in the detective’s affidavit was sufficient to establish fair probability that the computer or other digital storage devices within Carroll’s home would contain evidence of child pornography or exploitation of a child, despite the fact that the photographs were taken approximately five years earlier.
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Opinions April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Karl N. Truman
10S00-1401-DI-55
Attorney discipline. Issues a public reprimand for violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 5.6(a) by making an employment agreement that restricted the rights of a former associate to practice after termination of the employment relationship. The court also accepted the parties’ stipulation that Truman violated Rule 1.4(b), failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit client to make informed decisions regarding representation.
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Opinions April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
John M. Weidman v. State of Indiana
03A01-1306-CR-255
Criminal. Affirms 14-year sentence following guilty pleas in two separate causes. Weidman specifically agreed in his plea agreement that he was not entitled to credit for the time he was on electronic monitoring as a condition of his release on bond. Accordingly, he may not now claim that he was entitled to credit for the time he was on electronic monitoring.
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Opinions April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marvin Garner v. State of Indiana
49A02-1310-CR-834
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 60-year sentence for four counts of Class A felony child molesting. His offenses were committed against multiple victims and against the same victims repeatedly, and his victims were young and he abused this position of trust.
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Opinions April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Donnetta Newell v. State of Indiana
49A02-1309-CR-744
Criminal. Affirms Class A misdemeanor intimidation conviction. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the incident that led to Newell’s eviction and there is sufficient evidence for the finder of fact to conclude that Newell knew her statement to a security guard would be transmitted to the subject of her threat.
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Opinions April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Matthew P. Wilhoite v. State of Indiana
34A04-1303-CR-138
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony “conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery.” Wilhoite argued his conviction is invalid because a person may not be convicted of “conspiring to attempt” any crime. Although the state referenced a non-existent crime when it listed “conspiracy to commit attempted robbery” on the charging information as the crime committed, Wilhoite has not demonstrated fundamental error.
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Opinions April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shelly Bailey v. Lance Bailey
25A04-1309-DR-452
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s modification of physical custody of the two children. Finds the Parallel Parenting Time Order did not enable the court to modify the children’s custody to joint custody especially since neither parent petitioned for a change in custody. Judge John Baker dissented, writing that, as instructed by the Parallel Parenting Time Order, the trial court was trying to act in the best interest of the children and to prevent any further destructive behavior by the parents.
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Opinions April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Old Utica School Preservation, Inc., Kenneth Morrison, Scott Sandefur, and Pamela Sandefur v. Utica Township, John Durbin, Utica Township Trustee, Jacobs Well, Inc., Kevin Williar, John Posey, et al.
10A05-1308-PL-388
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Utica Township defendants and remands for proceedings on their claims. Old Utica School Preservation plaintiffs are entitled under the public standing doctrine to proceed with their claim that the township violated language in a quitclaim deed requiring the former school to be operated by the township solely for park and recreation purposes. Plaintiffs sued when the township leased the building for purposes including temporary housing or a halfway house for criminal offenders.
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Opinions April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Taylor v. State of Indiana
45A03-1310-CR-406
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition for expungement. Determines that the word “shall” in Section 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement. And such an interpretation does not render Section 35-38-9-9(d) meaningless because that section applies to other parts of the statute where the trial court does have discretion to deny a petition for expungement.
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Opinions April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
David Bleeke v. Bruce Lemmon, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction; Thor R. Miller, as Chairman of the Indiana Parole Board; et al.
02S05-1305-PL-364
Civil plenary. Reverses the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the parole board with respect to Bleeke’s additional parole conditions 4, 5, 17, 19 and 20, and remands with instructions that it enter an order enjoining the parole board from enforcing those conditions. Affirms the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the parole board with respect to Bleeke’s claims about the constitutionality of the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring Program.
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Opinions April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marcus Henderson
13-2483
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress and conviction of being a drug user in possession of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(3). The record is replete with specific and articulable facts which the SWAT officers reasonably relied upon to conclude that the officers or others faced a dangerous situation without a protective sweep of his house.
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Opinions April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ball State University v. Jennifer Irons, In re the Marriage of: Jennifer Irons, Wife, and Scott Irons, Husband
45A03-1307-DR-296
Domestic relation. Dismisses Ball State’s appeal of the order to release the college transcript of Jennifer Irons’ child. This appeal was not properly brought under Appellate Rule 14(A)(3). Denies Jennifer Irons’ request for appellate attorney fees. Judge Brown concurs in part and dissents in part.
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Opinions April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Randall Langford v. State of Indiana (NFP)
30A01-1309-CR-431
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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