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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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