Opinions

Opinions Aug. 10, 2016

August 10, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Peter Aghimien and Mable Aghimien v. Mark Fox (mem. dec.)
71A03-1602-CT-291
Civil tort. Affirms denial of the Aghimiens’ motion for summary judgment and the grant of Fox’s motion for summary judgment on the Aghimiens’ lawsuit claiming defamation, tortious interference with a business relationship, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium.
 

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Opinions Aug. 9, 2016

August 9, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Edgardo A. Henriquez v. State of Indiana
20A04-1510-CR-1841
Criminal. Majority affirms Edgardo A. Henriquez’s conviction and 30-year executed sentence for Class A felony child molesting, finding that he was not harmed by the trial court’s failure to advise him of his earliest and latest possible release dates pursuant to Indiana Code 35-38-1-1(b).Urges the Legislature to revisit the statute which the panel found imposes an impracticable burden on trial courts. Judge John Baker dissents and would affirm the conviction and remand to the trial court to include the statutorily required advisement in a new sentencing order.
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Opinions Aug. 5, 2016

August 5, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Dean Hubbell v. State of Indiana
03A01-1511-PC-1927
Post conviction. Reverses denial of a petition for post-conviction relief. Hubbell was deprived a certified copy of the court record from which to question his former counsel on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in his murder conviction. Remands to the post-conviction court with orders to obtain the direct appeal record and permit Hubbell to question witnesses and present arguments with the benefit of a certified Record of Proceedings.
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Opinions Aug. 4, 2016

August 4, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Glenn Patrick Bradford v. Richard Brown, superintendent
15-3706
Appeal from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Denies Glenn Bradford’s request for a new trial on 1992 murder and arson charges. Bradford had his chance and failed to present reliable evidence that would establish his innocence of the arson and murder. Judge Hamilton dissents with separate opinion, believing the court should order a new trial to test all the relevant evidence.
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Opinions Aug. 3, 2016

August 3, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lynn K.C. Sines v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
91A05-1603-CR-544
Criminal. Affirms denial of Sines’ motion to modify his 10-year sentence.
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Opinions Aug. 2, 2016

August 2, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Wallace Irvin Smith, III
45A05-1507-CR-945
Criminal. Affirms grant of Smith’s petition for alternative misdemeanor sentencing. Indiana Code 35-50-2-7(d) (2014) permits the trial court to modify his sentence and the language in Smith’s plea agreement did not preclude it.
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Opinions July 29, 2016

July 29, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
William H. Ellis, Sr. v. State of Indiana
02A03-1602-CR-376
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition for credit time not previously awarded by the Department of Correction. The court denied Ellis’ petition without considering whether he had exhausted his administrative remedies. Remands for the post-conviction court to determine this, and if so, to address his petition on the merits.
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Opinions July 28, 2016

July 28, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony J. Wampler v. State of Indiana

14A05-1510-CR-1606
Criminal. Affirms 33-year sentence for two counts of Class B felony burglary and Wampler’s status as a habitual offender. Acknowledges Wampler’s mental health problems, but he has not taken medication from 1995 until this case. Also finds sentence be appropriate given the long-term stalking Wampler has done of the victim and his criminal history. Judge Mathias dissents with opinion.
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Opinions July 27, 2016

July 27, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lisa R. Harris v. State of Indiana
83A01-1509-CR-1311
Criminal. Reverses denial of Harris’ motion to suppress evidence obtained from a consent search during a seat belt enforcement stop, which led to a Level 6 felony possession of methamphetamine charge. The officer lacked an independent basis of reasonable suspicion justifying inquiry above and beyond the seat belt violation. Remands for further proceedings Judge Najam dissents with opinion.
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Opinions July 26, 2016

July 26, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mikeal G. Cole Jr. v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
15-3883
Appeal from U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Reverses denial of Cole’s application for disability benefits and remands to the Social Security Administration for reconsideration. The administrative law judge’s decision was unreasoned and should not have been affirmed, as it appears she cherry picked the medical record, which is improper.
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Opinions July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darrell Birge and Sandra Birge v. Town of Linden, Indiana
54A01-1509-PL-1495
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court dismissal of the Birges’ nuisance and civil conspiracy suit against the town of Linden for damage to their farm property caused after an independent contractor modified an existing drainage system for municipal purposes. The trial court erred in concluding it was clear on the face of the evidence that the town’s discretionary function immunity applied, that the Birges were barred from seeking damages for inverse condemnation, and that the Birges failed to allege facts supporting a civil conspiracy. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions July 22, 2016

July 22, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Santiago Valdez v. State of Indiana

18A02-1509-CR-1514
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony attempted rape and Class C felony criminal confinement. While a prosecutor’s hint during closing arguments that defense counsel improperly influenced an expert witness constituted prosecutorial misconduct, the trial court’s prompt admonishment prevented Valdez from being placed into grave peril. The trial court made no evidentiary errors. Admonishes Delaware County deputy prosecutor Eric Hoffman regarding ‘wild, baseless accusations of misconduct’ hurled at defense counsel.
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Opinions July 21, 2016

July 21, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Joseph C. Lehman
20S00-1507-DI-431
Discipline. Disbars Lehman for unauthorized practice of law while suspended. Previous sanctions have not deterred him from continuing to engage in the practice of law in defiance of his suspension order, and his repeated violations have exposed the public to the danger of attorney misconduct by him.
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Opinions July 20, 2016

July 20, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Timothy S. Durham
49S00-1212-DI-672
Discipline. Disbars Tim Durham following his conviction on 12 felony counts for securities and wire fraud, 10 of which were upheld on appeal. Finds he violated two Rules of Professional Conduct for “fraudulent looting of funds entrusted to him by investors.”
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Opinions July 19, 2016

July 19, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jonathan Gibson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A05-1601-PC-129
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Pinnacle Properties Development Group, LLC v. Sarah Oliver (mem. dec.)
10A01-1512-SC-2143
Small claim. Affirms judgment in favor of Oliver on Pinnacle Properties’ small claim action seeking as damages unpaid rent and an unpaid utility bill, as well as possession of Oliver’s apartment.
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Opinions July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larenz Jordan v. State of Indiana

27A02-1511-CR-1897
Criminal. Affirms Jordan’s convictions of 12 counts of rape and one count of conspiracy to commit rape, as Level 1 felonies; one count of Level 4 felony burglary, and one count of Level 5 felony robbery. The juvenile court, in waiving him to adult court, did not abuse its discretion as there was no error associated with the judge’s use of the phrase “criminal thinking” without reference to evidence-based measures of criminogenic behavior, where here, the elements of the waiver statute are other properly addressed and supported. Concludes his 40-year aggregate sentence is appropriate.
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Opinions July 14, 2016

July 14, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Fireman's Fund Insurance Company v. Matthew W. Ackerman and American Casualty Co.
82A01-1509-CT-1350
Civil tort. Reverses denial of the Fireman’s Fund’s motion for summary judgment regarding Ackerman’s claim for underinsured motorist coverage. Given Indiana Code 27-7-5-1.5(b), Fireman’s Fund was not required to provide UM/UIM coverage in the 2008 Evansville Marine policy. Fireman’s Fund was entitled to judgment as a matter of law and there were no genuine issues of material fact. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Noe Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton Company, Inc. (dissent on rehearing) 54A01-1506-CT-602 Civil tort. Denies Escamilla’s petition for rehearing. Judge Baker dissents with opinion, writing that knowledge of a party’s immigration status alone sheds no meaningful light on the question of whether that party will one day face deportation.
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Opinions July 12, 2016

July 12, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Victor Roar v. State of Indiana
49S02-1607-CR-372
Criminal. Affirms Victor Roar’s Class A misdemeanor intimidation conviction. Grants transfer and incorporates by reference the portion of the Court of Appeals opinion on sufficiency of the evidence and affirms the trial court. Summarily affirms the COA opinion addressing the admission of other evidence.
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Opinions July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shawn M. Sobolewski v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
46A03-1511-CR-2011
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony aiding, inducing or causing burglary and Class B felony aiding, inducing or causing robbery.
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Opinions July 8, 2016

July 8, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brad L. Sullivan v. State of Indiana
16A01-1512-CR-2175
Criminal. Reverses revocation of Sullivan’s community corrections placement. Based on the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of the violation – Sullivan’s commitment for mental health issues, and the sanction, an order he serve the sentence in the DOC – the trial court abused its discretion in finding his violation warranted revoking his community corrections placement. Remands for placement in community corrections.
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Opinions July 7, 2016

July 7, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.B., Minor Child, and L.B., Father v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec.)
54A05-1601-JT-55
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of father’s parental rights.
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Opinions July 6, 2016

July 6, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
James E. Rogers v. State of Indiana
49A02-1508-CR-1033
Criminal. Reverses the denial of Rogers’ motion to compel a woman who provided social services support to Rogers’ minor victim and her family to answer four questions during a deposition.
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Opinions July 5, 2016

July 5, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana, Acting on Behalf of the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration
49S00-1605-OR-294
Original action. Concludes that the state is entitled to a change of judge. Removes Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer and orders the trial court to grant the change of judge motion. Vacates all orders Dreyer issued in the case on or after May 6, 2016, the date the Supreme Court’s order was certified, and prohibits Dreyer from exercising further jurisdiction except to effectuate the change of judge.
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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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