Opinions

Opinions Feb. 27, 2014

February 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John A. Peters III
12-3830
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence discovered during the search of a car in which Peters was a passenger. The District Court committed no error in crediting the testimony of an experienced police officer who, after observing two cars traveling in tandem for a period of time, said he credibly believed that the trailing car was approximately 75 feet behind the lead car at a speed of approximately 60 miles-per-hour. If an officer knowing these facts could reasonably conclude that this combination of speed and distance violated Indiana law, that is all that is necessary to support probable cause.
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Opinions Feb. 26, 2014

February 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robin Harper v. State of Indiana
49A04-1305-CR-222
Criminal. Reverses Harper’s Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction. Officers Gillespie and Hartman unlawfully entered Harper’s residence, therefore, the officers were not engaged in the lawful execution of their duties at the time they arrested Harper and then attempted to remove her wedding ring in preparation for booking.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2014

February 25, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Kindred, Thomas Kindred, and Sam Kindred v. Betty Townsend and Harmon Crone
60A01-1304-PL-156
Civil plenary. Dismisses interlocutory appeal as untimely. Finds the arguments the Kindreds raised in appealing the denial of their motion to dissolve were based on information that was available when the trial court granted the preliminary injunction six months prior. Still, the COA notes it has ruled only that the Kindreds forfeited their right to an interlocutory appeal by failing to timely file. The Kindreds may yet attack the trial court’s interlocutory orders on appeal from the final judgment.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2014

February 24, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
University of Notre Dame v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, et. al. and Jane Doe 1, et al.
13-3853
Civil. Affirms on interlocutory appeal denial of an injunction blocking enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, holding that the requirement that the university submit a form opting out of paying for contraception services for women did not trigger provision of those services which insurers are required to provide under the law. Circuit Judge Joel Flaum dissented, holding that Notre Dame has shown a likelihood of success on the merits and he would therefore reverse the order denying the injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2014

February 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of: TLC, a Child Alleged to be a Delinquent Child v. State of Indiana
60A01-1308-JV-377
Juvenile. Affirms commitment of TLC to the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds TLC did not receive unequal treatment and his due process rights were not violated. Rules that the juvenile court had an adequate factual basis to conclude that TLC was guilty of what would be the crime of resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor, if committed by an adult. Concludes the state sufficiently proved that TLC committed what would have been battery, a Class B misdemeanor, had it been committed by an adult. 
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Opinions Feb. 20, 2014

February 20, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
James T. Mitchell v. 10th and The Bypass, LLC and Elway, Inc.
53S01-1303-PL-222
Civil plenary. Evidence obtained after the entry of an order granting a motion for partial summary judgment may not form the basis for vacating that order on the grounds that a non-final order is subject to revision at any time before the entry of a final judgment. Also concludes that relief from judgment under Ind. Trial Rules is not limited only to final judgments.
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Opinions Feb. 19, 2014

February 19, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. William Coats
49S02-1305-CR-328
Criminal. Remands to the trial court with an order to commit Coats to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction. I.C. 35-36-3-1(b) requires trial courts to commit defendants found not competent to stand trial to the DMHA for competency restoration services.
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Opinions Feb. 18, 2014

February 18, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tanner Piotrowski v. State of Indiana
46A03-1306-CR-222
Criminal. Affirms denial of Piotrowski’s motion to exclude any evidence or testimony from the state Department of Toxicology. After reviewing the relevant statutes, finds that the Legislature intended I.C. 10-20-2-7 to effectuate a transfer of control of the Department of Toxicology from the Indiana University School of Medicine to the state of Indiana. Although the Legislature transferred rulemaking authority to the state, it did not specifically require the state to promulgate a new set of rules regarding breath testing and gave the state discretion to rely upon the rules previously in existence. The court did not err when it denied Piotrowski’s motion to exclude.
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2014

February 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rakiea McCaskill v. State of Indiana
49A02-1306-CR-480
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor intimidation. The state did not provide sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McCaskill committed Class A misdemeanor intimidation as charged. The state did produce sufficient evidence that McCaskill committed Class B misdemeanor harassment. Remands to the trial court with instructions to vacate McCaskill’s judgment of conviction for intimidation and to enter a judgment of conviction for McCaskill for Class B misdemeanor harassment.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2014

February 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Teaching Our Posterity Success, Inc. v. Indiana Department of Education and Indiana State Board of Education
49A05-1308-PL-386
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of Teaching Our Posterity Success’ petition for judicial review challenging a decision by the Department of Education and State Board of Education to remove TOPS from its list of approved supplemental educational services providers. Remands to the DOE for the entry of statutorily mandated findings and conclusions to accompany its final order regarding TOPS.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2014

February 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Brian Yost v. Wabash College, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity- Indiana Gamma Chapter at Wabash College, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Nathan Cravens
54S01-1303-CT-161
Civil tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment for the campus fraternity but affirms summary judgment for the college and national fraternity organization in the personal injury action brought by a fraternity pledge seeking damages for injuries sustained in an incident at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Holds that the designated evidence shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that Wabash College and the national fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., are each entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law, but that as to the local fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity – Indiana Gamma Chapter at Wabash College, there remain genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment. Justice Rucker concurs in part and dissents in part. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Feb. 12, 2014

February 12, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of S.D., Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services, J.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
49S05-1309-JC-585
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that S.D. is a child in need of services. S.D. and her siblings were legitimately in need of services when DCS filed its petitions. But by the fact-finding hearing, mother had voluntarily addressed all but one of those concerns to the trial court’s satisfaction. In view of that judgment, the remaining evidence fails to show that mother was likely to need the court’s coercive intervention to complete that final item — and when that coercion is not necessary, the state may not intrude into a family’s life.
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Opinions Feb. 11, 2014

February 11, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council; VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council
82S01-1306-CT-436 and 82S01-1306-PL-437
Civil. Strikes down an amended Evansville smoking ban that exempted the Aztar riverboat casino in a 3-2 decision. Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Mark Massa and Steven David held that the exception violated Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution because it conferred a privilege on the casino that wasn’t extended to similarly situated bars, taverns and clubs. Dissenting Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker found the casino’s inherent characteristics of producing a large flow of revenue and attracting a mostly out-of-town clientele placed it in a distinct group from the tavern and club establishment that challenged the exemption.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2014

February 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timmothy Williams
13-1260
Criminal. Vacates sentence for convictions related to identity theft and remands to the District Court. In accordance with the ruling in Peugh v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2072, 2078 (2013), sentencing guidelines that were stricter than those in place at the time Williams committed the crime were improperly applied when he was sentenced to 56 months in prison for identity theft convictions plus 24 months for aggravated identity theft. Remands to sentence Williams to 30 to 37 months in prison – the range under the guidelines in place at the time of his offenses.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2014

February 7, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gary W. Helman v. Bruce Duhaime, et al.
12-3428
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of defendants in a civil rights suit alleging police used excessive force when they shot Gary Helman, ending an armed standoff that began when authorities attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest at his home in Cromwell. Helman’s § 1983 complaint cannot survive summary judgment because he pleaded guilty to a class D felony count of resisting law enforcement in which evidence showed authorities only fired after Helman reached for his firearm.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2014

February 6, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, City of Indianapolis, Department of Waterworks, and City of Indianapolis v. National Trust Insurance Company and FCCI Insurance Company a/s/o Ultra Steak, Inc., et. al.
49S04-1301-PL-8
Civil plenary. Holds that a private, for-profit company under the circumstances of this case is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from a fire that destroyed a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. Accordingly, affirms the trial court’s rulings that Veolia is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity and that the city is not entitled to statutory sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from an inadequate water supply in the hydrants near the restaurant. The city is entitled to common law sovereign immunity, so reverses holding that the city is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity.
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Opinions Feb. 5, 2014

February 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kendale L. Adams, et al. v City of Indianapolis
12-1874
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. In a consolidated appeal, affirms entry of summary judgment for the city on the officers’ disparate-treatment claims because the plaintiffs had not produced any evidence that using the test results to make promotions was a pretext for discrimination. Affirms dismissal of new claims brought as barred by res judicata because the same eligibility list generated by the testing process was at issue in the first case.
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Opinions Feb. 4, 2014

February 4, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Smith v. Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, et al.
13-1939
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Smith’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a policy that requires a permit before gathering on commission properties. The new policy, revised shortly after the District Court denied the motion, retains the problematic features of the old policy. Also, Smith has met the requirements for obtaining a preliminary injunction. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2014

February 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Rinehart v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-236
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony possession of a handgun without a license.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2014

January 31, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timothy L. Richards
12-3763
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, maintaining a residence or place for the purpose of using and distributing controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. There was no error in allowing the government to introduce seized evidence, finding Richards’ 86-year-old uncle had authority to consent to a search of the bedroom where Richards stayed.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2014

January 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Matter of C.L., a Delinquent v. State of Indiana
05A04-1306-JV-319
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that C.L. is delinquent for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor intimidation if committed by an adult. It was not established that C.L. committed intimidation for a prior lawful act. The evidence established that the alleged threats C.L. directed toward his grandfather were aimed at influencing future conduct, rather that in retaliation for past conduct. Judge Najam dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 29, 2014

January 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cory L. Meadows v. State of Indiana
39A01-1305-CR-215
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Meadows’ request for credit for the time he served on electronic monitoring while he was in the drug court program. After examining the statutory provisions governing sentencing, electronic monitoring and deferral programs, concludes it was within the court’s discretion to deny the credit toward his sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 28, 2014

January 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bitler Investment Venture II, LLC, et al. v. Marathon Petroleum Company LP, et al.
12-3722.
Civil. Affirms in part, reverses in part a $269,000 judgment in favor of Bitler. Remands with instructions to double damages awarded under Michigan’s laws regarding doctrine of waste for properties that Marathon failed to maintain and were ultimately condemned. Reverses dismissal of certain contract claims and remands to the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for trial on those issues.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2014

January 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Annex Books Inc, et al. v. City of Indianapolis
13-1500.
Civil. Reverses District Court order upholding a city of Indianapolis ordinance limiting the hours of adult bookstores to 10 a.m. to midnight, Monday-Saturday. Remands to the District Court with instructions to enter injunction against enforcement of the closure ordinance. Finds that in light of prior Supreme Court jurisprudence, the city cannot restrict the distribution of material that might be objectionable but is not obscene. The city’s argument that the closure ordinance had reduced instances of armed robberies near the bookstore locations was “weak as a statistical matter,” the court ruled.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2014

January 24, 2014
Jan. 24, 2014
Indiana Tax Court

William W. Thorsness v. Porter County Assessor
49T10-1102-TA-14
Tax. Affirms final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review regarding Thorsness’ 2007 real property assessment. The burden-shifting rule contained in Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-1(p) and its progeny applies only to valuation challenges, not to uniform and equal constitutional challenges. Concludes that the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err by determining that Thorsness’ ratio study did not demonstrate that the assessor’s assessment lacked uniformity.
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  1. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  2. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  3. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  4. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  5. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

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