Opinions

Opinions Dec. 16, 2011

December 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Justin M. Corwin v. State of Indiana
79A04-1005-CR-296
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony possession of a controlled substance, holding that a police officer exceeded the limits of a search as defined by Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968), and therefore, the evidence he obtained in the search should not have been admitted at trial.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2011

December 15, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Adrianna Brown, et al. v. Columbia Sussex Corp., et al.
10-3849
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of 53 of the 224 plaintiffs who had their civil rights and breach of contract claims dismissed because they continually missed both formal and informal deadlines. Holds that, in the context of a multi-party or multi-claim suit, a premature notice of appeal from the dismissal of a party or claim will ripen upon the entry of a belated Rule 54(b) judgment under Rule 4(a)(2) and FirsTier. The District Court was within its discretion to find that the appellants acted willfully, in bad faith, or with fault.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2011

December 14, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Susan Kellar v. Summit Seating Inc.
11-1221
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Summit Seating on Kellar’s lawsuit that she is entitled to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act for work performed before the official start of her work shift. Concludes that Summit did not know or have reason to know that Kellar was working before her shift.
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Opinions Dec. 13, 2011

December 13, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Steven Spangler and Heidi Brown v. Barbara Bechtel, Expectations Women's Health and
Childbearing Center, and St. Vincent Randolph Hospital

49S05-1012-CV-703
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Bechtel and the health and childbearing center. The parents’ separate actions seeking damages for emotional distress from experiencing the stillbirth of their child are not barred by the Indiana Child Wrongful Death Act or the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 12, 2011

December 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Douglas Garwood v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A02-1106-CR-588
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and reverses conviction of Class D felony possession of precursors with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2011

December 9, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott Pattison v. State of Indiana
85A02-1101-CR-88
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder. The circumstantial evidence is sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Pattison killed his wife. Affirms in all other respects.
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Opinions Dec. 8, 2011

December 8, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.M., G.M., and R.M.; A.M. (Mother) and C.M. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Dearborn County Office
15A01-1104-JT-204
Juvenile. Reverses termination of mother A.M.’s parental rights. The Department of Child Services did not establish by clear and convincing evidence the requisite statutory elements to support the termination. Judge Darden concurs in result.
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2011

December 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Estate of Melissa K. Patrick: Yvonne Griffith v. Jason Patrick
17A03-1104-ES-190
Estate, supervised. Affirms denial of the estate’s motion to dismiss a petition for survivor’s allowance filed by Melissa Patrick’s surviving spouse, Jason. The trial court did not commit clear error in determining that Ind. Code 29-1-2-14 did not divest Patrick of a survivor’s share of the estate with his late wife.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2011

December 6, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
A.A.Q. v. State of Indiana
71A03-1105-JV-239
Juvenile. Affirms judgment of juvenile court finding A.A.Q. a juvenile delinquent for committing an act that would have been Class A misdemeanor trespass if committed by an adult. Holds that A.A.Q. and his parents waived the right to counsel.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2011

December 5, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Linzy C. Clark v. State of Indiana
48A04-1104-CR-249
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s denial of Clark’s motion to dismiss the notice of probation violation. After the probation was transferred from Madison County to Tippecanoe County, the Tippecanoe County court held supervisory authority. It received notice of the probation violation, but Madison County – the sentencing court – did not, nor did it file the notice of probation violation within 45 days of receiving the notice of violation.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2011

December 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Billy Jack Steele v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1104-CR-194
Criminal. Affirms eight-year sentence for Class C felony robbery.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2011

December 1, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bridgett Stevens v. Housing Authority of South Bend, Indiana, et al. and State of Indiana
10-2724
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for defendants on Stevens’ federal claims alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the 14th Amendment and the decline by the court to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims, dismissing them without prejudice. Injunctive relief is no longer available to Stevens because she voluntarily left her public housing apartment after receiving two additional notices indicating that she must leave due to violating housing policy. The first notice was therefore lawfully issued, and Stevens has no claim for emotional distress caused by a wholly lawful action.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2011

November 30, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Christopher Jewell v. State of Indiana
32S04-1104-CR-200
Criminal. Affirms denial of Jewell’s motion to suppress recorded phone conversations between him and his former stepdaughter and finds his sentence is appropriate for six counts relating to child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child seduction. Holds that under the broader protections of Article 1, Section 13 of the Indiana Constitution, the right to counsel is violated only where the different offense is inextricably intertwined with the charge on which counsel is already representing the defendant.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2011

November 29, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
David Hopper v. State of Indiana
13S01-1007-PC-399
Post conviction. Grants rehearing to address the role and necessity of advising someone of the risks of dealing with prosecutors without a lawyer. The post-conviction court was right that Hopper’s waiver of counsel was voluntary and intelligent. Finds Hopper’s contention that advisement language should be mandatory in all stages of all cases with all defendants is misplaced. Justice Rucker dissents with separate opinion, in which Justice Sullivan concurs.
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Opinions Nov. 28, 2011

November 28, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jennings Daugherty v. State of Indiana
89A05-1103-CR-131
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony possession of cocaine and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance. Daugherty’s arguments on appeal are insufficient to demonstrate reversible error. Affirms the admission of the state’s evidence.
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Opinions Nov. 23, 2011

November 23, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Monica Del Carmen Gonzalez-Servin, et. al. v. Fort Motor Company, et. al.
11-1665
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. In a consolidated appeal, the court affirmed decisions by District Courts in Indiana and Illinois granting forum non conveniens in multidistrict litigation. In the Indiana case, the court held that Judge Sarah Evans Barker was acting within her discretion in deciding that the courts of Mexico would be better suited to adjudication of a lawsuit by Mexican citizens arising from the death of another Mexican citizen in an accident in Mexico.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2011

November 22, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Lisa Gray v. State of Indiana

82S01-1106-CR-328
Criminal. Reinstates trial court’s guilty verdict on Gray’s charge of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, rejecting the argument that insufficient evidence existed to support her conviction. Holds that the word of two police officers held more influence with the trial court than the testimony of Gray’s son, whom Gray appeared to be coaching during trial about how to answer questions.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2011

November 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jim Norris v. Personal Finance
27A04-1104-SC-183
Small claim. Reverses trial court’s decision denying Norris relief, holding that the trial court erred in concluding that under Trial Rule 4.16, Norris’ parents – when served a notice of claim against Norris – had a duty to inform the court that Norris did not live with them.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2011

November 18, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Marks and Karen Marks v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company
45A05-1011-CT-675
Civil tort. On petition for rehearing, affirms original decision in all respects, holding that the semi-trailer from which David Marks fell was owned by a subcontractor of a general contractor, and therefore Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is not liable for the accident.
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2011

November 17, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Spine Group, PC v. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC
93S02-1102-EX-90
Miscellaneous. Reverses decision by Worker’s Compensation Board dismissing as untimely Indiana Spine Group’s application for adjustment of claim. Holds that the Worker’s Compensation Act is silent on the question of the limitation period applicable to a medical provider’s claim seeking payment of outstanding bills for authorized treatment to an employer’s employee. Holds that the limitation period contained in the general statute of limitation controls. Remands for further proceedings consistent with opinion.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2011

November 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Green River Motel Management of Dale, LLC, et al. v. State of Indiana
74A05-1104-PL-169
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Green River’s motion for summary judgment. A state action that merely alters the flow of traffic or causes access by a more circuitous route can’t give rise to a taking as a matter of law. Affirms on all other respects.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2011

November 15, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jesse Puckett v. State of Indiana
90A02-1104-CR-369
Criminal. Reverses sentencing decision that required Puckett to serve his entire previously suspended four-year sentence after Puckett admitted to violating his probation for Class C felony child molesting. The trial judge’s statement of reasons for the sentence is problematic. Holds it is improper when revoking probation for a trial court to find that the defendant actually committed a more serious crime than the one or ones of which he or she was originally convicted. Remands for another hearing regarding the revocation of probation.
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2011

November 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
D.E. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1103-JV-319
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication as a delinquent through D.E.’s plea agreement. D.E. didn’t demonstrate that the waivers in the plea agreement didn’t comport with Ind. Code 31-32-5-1. Placement of D.E. in a juvenile correction facility was not an abuse of discretion.
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2011

November 10, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dale Russell
10-2259
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms Dale Russell’s convictions of producing sexually explicit photographs of his minor daughters, which later crossed international boundaries, and his 38-year prison sentence.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2011

November 9, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Paternity of M.F.; N.F. v. J.T.
10A01-1101-JP-15
Juvenile. Reverses portion of the order finding mother N.F. in contempt because she presented a prima facie case that the trial court abused its discretion. Reverses order that mother pay attorney fees based on the contempt finding. Affirms portion of the order that requires N.F. buy a plane ticket for M.F. to visit her father in Florida. Judge Kirsch dissents without opinion.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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