Opinions April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Kimani Lanier Fleming
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms Fleming’s revised sentence of 480 months imprisonment for convictions of several serious drug and firearm charges. There was no clear error in the District Court’s decision to include routine drug purchases as relevant conduct when it computed his revised sentencing guideline range. Denies Fleming’s implicit request for an expanded certificate of appealability.  

Indiana Tax Court
Utilimaster Corporation v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue
Tax. Rules Utilimaster’s attorneys are not necessary witnesses pursuant to Professional Conduct Rule 3.7, as information they could testify about can be obtained from Utilimaster employees. The Department of State Revenue has invoked Professional Conduct Rule 3.7 in an attempt to conceal its failure to timely pursue discovery as well as to remove Utilimaster’s attorneys from the case, calling their professionalism into question. The court will not countenance the rule’s abuse as a procedural weapon by invading Utilimaster’s right to counsel of its choice.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Westmoreland v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to suppress marijuana, finding the trial court erred in denying the motion because the officers did not reasonably believe Westmoreland was armed and dangerous. Remands with instructions for the trial court to dismiss the possession of marijuana charge.

Barbara (Rosario) Bessolo v. William I. Rosario
Domestic relation. Affirms finding that Bessolo failed to dismiss the protective order against Rosario as required by the dissolution decree, that she was in contempt, and the award of compensatory damages and attorney fees to Rosario. Reverses the 10-day suspended sentence imposed on Bessolo for future violations of any of the court’s orders. Because Bessolo was aware that she was required to dismiss the protective order but failed to do so and later relied upon it in her dealing with police, the trial court did not err in finding her in contempt.

Trust No. 6011, Lake County Trust Company, Trustee, Simon Beemsterboer, and Victoria J. Beemsterboer v. Heil's Haven Condominiums Homeowners Assn.
Civil plenary. Reverses the portion of paragraph 1 of the judgment that permanently enjoins the Beemsterboers from obstructing the homeowners association’s use of the walkway easement and placing a fence that blocks access to that area, paragraph 2 of the judgment ordering the couple to remove the staircase and repair the sidewalk, and paragraph 3 of the judgment prohibiting the couple from interfering with the reconstructed sidewalk. Affirms paragraph 4 in which the couple was permanently enjoined “from in any fashion interfering with the (association’s) deck.”

Gerald Mayberry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor interference with reporting a crime and Class B misdemeanor battery.

Jamie E. Green v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Robbie S. McCain-Ficklin v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery on McCain-Ficklin’s minor stepson.

Charles Frederick Miller v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony auto theft.

John Brooke v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony conspiracy to commit armed robbery and 22-year sentence.

The Law Office of Deborah Agard v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (NFP)
Agency appeal. Affirms finding that the law office owed unemployment insurance tax contributions for an individual the office paid to perform cleaning services at its office and at Kids’ Voice, a nonprofit center where Deborah Agard, the sole proprietor of the law office, serves on the board of directors.

Sterling B. Nelson v. Michelle L. Nelson (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms post-dissolution order, in which the trial court imputed $415 in gross weekly income to father during his 12-week period of unemployment and refused to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines.

Manuel Martinez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms restitution order following guilty plea to battery.

Michael M. and Lana S. Ashley, et al. v. Jeffrey and Holly Spaw, et al. (NFP)
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s affirmation of the Indiana Natural Resources Commission’s decision to rule in favor of several back-lot owners in the Long Lake Park subdivision regarding riparian rights.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.