Opinions April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Glenn Sciaraffa v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction for dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor; and an adjudication as a habitual substance offender. Finds no fundamental error occurred during the admission of presumptive positive test and rules the state’s closing arguments fell within the bounds of prosecutorial advocacy. Also holds the state presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain Sciaraffa’s conviction for dealing in methamphetamine.

Opinions April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Demetrius L. Grant, and Vickie O. Grant v. The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co.
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses and remands a grant of summary judgment in favor of Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., and remands with instructions to dismiss the case. By refiling a suit that had been dismissed under Trial Rule 41(E) for failing to prosecute, the bank violated the rule and the doctrine of res judicata, since dismissal under T.R. 41(E), unless otherwise specified, operates as a judgment on the merits and dismissal with prejudice. 

Opinions April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nicholas A. Rushlow v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class A felony attempted murder and Class C felony criminal recklessness.

Opinions April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015
United States of America v. Christian J. Miller, Frank Jordan, and Joshua N. Bowser
14-1237, 14-1585, and 14-1592
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms judgments against defendants for various criminal charges, including wire fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Bowser’s case is remanded for further consideration of the term of his supervised release authorizing suspicionless searches.

Opinions March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Berthal O. Williams and Patricia Williams v. The Indiana Rail Road Company
Civil collection. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Rail Road Company on the Williamses’ attempt to enforce a 1901 indenture regarding a dam on their property. Concludes the indenture was a covenant running with the land, that the terms set forth in the indenture required IRR to maintain the dam and the water level at a specific depth, and that it contained a covenant, perpetual in nature, that did not cease upon a prior breach. Remands for further proceedings.

Opinions March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re: Indiana State Fair Litigation: Polet, et al. v. Mid-America Sound, et. al.
Civil tort. Majority reverses trial court order granting summary judgment in favor of the Indiana State Fair Commission on Mid-America Sound’s claim that its contract requires the commission to indemnify it against claims from the 2011 State Fair stage collapse that killed and injured patrons. The majority held the Indiana Tort Claims Act does not apply and there are genuine issues of material fact regarding the validity and enforceability of the indemnification agreement. Remands for trial. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented and would find the commission has immunity from Mid-America’s claims and that the Tort Claims Act applies.

Opinions March 27, 2015

March 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jimmy Wallen, Jr. v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms conviction of theft, a Class D felony. Splits over question of whether jury instruction invaded the role of the jury by presuming the state had established Wallen knowingly intended to deprive Walmart of its property. Finds jury instruction error harmless because the jury could have concluded from the evidence alone that Wallen had shoplifted.

Opinions March 26, 2015

March 26, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
First American Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Ind., in his Official Capacity, on Behalf of the Ind. Dept. of Insurance
Civil plenary. Grants rehearing to delete the first clause in third footnote. Agreed its reversal of the denial to dismiss First American’s petition appears to be inconsistent with its affirming the concerns about the timeliness of the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance’s hearing order and First American’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies.


Opinions March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Dustin E. McCowan v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction, finding that a proposed jury instruction rejected by the judge regarding presumption of innocence had been sufficiently covered by other jury instructions and proceedings. States that prospectively, it is the absolute right of every criminal defendant to receive the following jury instruction, if requested: “The presumption of innocence continues in favor of the defendant throughout the trial. You should fit the evidence to the presumption that the defendant is innocent if you can reasonably do so.”

Opinions March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Drakkar R. Willis v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass, finding the evidence insufficient to sustain the conviction.

Opinions March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Seward v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder but vacates the convictions and sentences for  reckless homicide and battery, which placed him in double jeopardy. The aggregate 62-year sentence remains because sentences for the vacated offenses were to be served concurrently.

Opinions March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Dennis Alan Howell
Certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Determines that spouses and children need not be the debtor’s dependents for policy exemptions to apply in life insurance policies involved in a bankruptcy estate.

Opinions March 19, 2015

March 19, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission v. Lebamoff Enterprises, Inc.
Miscellaneous. Reinstates and affirms the ATC’s final order sanctioning Lebamoff Enterprises for using a common carrier to deliver alcohol to customers. ATC’s interpretation of the relevant statutory authority was reasonable and its order did not reflect an improper attempt to create an agency rule, but rather was a proper exercise of the ATC’s adjudicatory function. Remands with instructions.

Opinions March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Ball State University v. Jennifer Irons; In Re the Marriage of: Jennifer Irons and Scott Irons
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s order granting mother’s motion to join supplemental defendant, Ball State, and order release of transcript. Mother has not carried her burden in demonstrating that Ball State was a necessary party under Trial Rule 19. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate order dismissing Ball State from this action.

Opinions March 17, 2015

March 17, 2015
Indiana Tax Court
Blue Chip Casino, LLC v. LaPorte County Treasurer, and LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tax. Dismisses the casino’s appeal of the LaPorte County treasurer’s failure to respond to its request for a refund of innkeeper’s tax that it paid to the treasurer between January 2007 and August 2009 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. All pending motions are hereby deemed moot.

Opinions March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Redevelopment Commission of the Town of Munster, Indiana v. Indiana State Board of Accounts and Paul D. Joyce, State Examiner of State Board of Accounts
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the state Board of Accounts. Holds the commission had standing to bring its declaratory judgment and the trial court did not err in determining that Indiana statute does not permit the use of TIF funds for the continued maintenance of completed redevelopment projects.

Opinions March 13, 2015

March 13, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jackie H. Richardson
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to dismiss the federal prosecution against Richardson. Holds that Richardson’s speedy trial right under the Sixth Amendment was not violated. Judge Hamilton concurs in separate opinion.

Opinions March 12, 2015

March 12, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Restorative Dentistry, P.C. v. The Laven Insurance Agency, Inc. and ProAssurance Indemnity Co., Inc. F/K/A the Medical Assurance Co., Inc.
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment against IRD regarding Laven’s contractual duty to procure full coverage. Reverses summary judgment regarding Laven’s duty to advise. Holds that the designated evidence supports conflicting inferences on whether the parties enjoyed a special relationship that created a duty to advise. As for the implied contract to procure full coverage, holds that the record does not show any discussion between the parties on the matter, much less a meeting of the minds. Remands for further proceedings.

Opinions March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Matthew Marcus, II v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Strikes Marcus’ appeal brief and remands the matter to the trial court for appointment of competent counsel. His public defender advocated for a review of his client’s sentence under the manifestly unreasonable standard, which was replaced more than a decade ago. And he failed to present a cogent argument with citation within relevant authority.

Opinions March 10, 2015

March 10, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
J.B. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses denial of a petition for expungement of a conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery. The trial court erred when it denied J.B.’s petition to have records relating to his conviction expunged, citing the dismissal of the conviction after J.B. completed a one-year probation sentence. Holds that an earned dismissal of a conviction does not disqualify someone from expungement of the conviction.

Opinions March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stuart Reed and Michael Reed v. Michael Cassady
Civil plenary. Affirms order granting Cassady’s motion to enforce a $30,000 sanction as well as a finding that Distinctive Transportation Services, Inc. in contempt and imposition of a $10,000 fine. Reversal is not warranted on the order enforcing the $30,000 sanction and Reeds are jointly and severally liable. Also found reversal is not warranted of the $10,000 sanction.

Opinions March 6, 2015

March 6, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Norris v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Remands to the trial court to reduce the sentence following a guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in a controlled substance from 20 years executed to 12 years with eight years executed. The panel concluded the sentence was excessive in light of the offense of selling 10 hyrdocodone pills for a total of $60.

Opinions March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Kenneth Griesemer v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of patronizing a prostitute. Finds the undercover detective merely presented Griesemer with an opportunity to patronize a prostitute and there was no inducement and therefore no entrapment. Justices Dickson and Rucker dissent with separate opinion.

Opinions March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Bisard v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class B felony operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.15 or higher causing death and two counts of Class D felony operating a vehicle with a BAC of more than 0.08 percent causing serious bodily injury. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Bisard’s motion for a mistrial based upon issues relating to juror misconduct and the statement by the court that admitting testimony from Bisard regarding his drinking habits would open the door to a subsequent drunken-driving conviction did not amount to denial of due process.

Opinions March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gordon A. Etzler v. Indiana Department of Revenue
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the revenue department on Etzler’s complaint for breeder’s award funds. Because the judgment resulting from the department’s Marshall County tax warrant only creates a lien on property “in the county,” I.C. 6-8.1-8-2(e), and because the department did not take measures to establish a lien on property located in any other county, the department’s ability to levy on Dale Dodson’s property was limited to Marshall County. Etzler filed a valid UCC financing statement that perfected his interest in the breeder’s awards.
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  1. So men who think they are girls at heart can use the lady's potty? Usually the longer line is for the women's loo, so, the ladies may be the ones to experience temporary gender dysphoria, who knows? Is it ok to joke about his or is that hate? I may need a brainwash too, hey! I may just object to my own comment, later, if I get myself properly "oriented"

  2. Heritage, what Heritage? The New Age is dawning .... an experiment in disordered liberty and social fragmentation is upon us .... "Carmel City Council approved a human rights ordinance with a 4-3 vote Monday night after hearing about two hours of divided public testimony. The ordinance bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, among other traits. Council members Rick Sharp, Carol Schleif, Sue Finkam and Ron Carter voted in favor of it. The three council members opposing it—Luci Snyder, Kevin Rider and Eric Seidensticker—all said they were against any form of discrimination, but had issues with the wording and possible unintended consequences of the proposal." Kardashian is the new Black.

  3. Can anyone please tell me if anyone is appealing the law that certain sex offenders can't be on school property. How is somebody supposed to watch their children's sports games or graduations, this law needs revised such as sex offenders that are on school property must have another non-offender adult with them at all times while on school property. That they must go to the event and then leave directly afterwards. This is only going to hurt the children of the offenders and the father/ son mother/ daughter vice versa relationship. Please email me and let me know if there is a group that is appealing this for reasons other than voting and religion. Jaramieharness@gmail.com Thank you.

  4. Should any attorney who argues against the abortion industry, or presents arguments based upon the Founders' concept of Higher Law, (like that marriage precedes the State) have to check in with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program for a mandatory mental health review? Some think so ... that could certainly cut down on cases such as this "cluttering up" the SCOTUS docket ... use JLAP to deny all uber conservative attorneys licenses and uber conservative representation will tank. If the ends justify the means, why not?

  5. Tell them sherry Mckay told you to call, they're trying to get all the people that have been wronged and held unlawfully to sign up on this class action lawsuit.