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Opinions April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Ronnie Jamel Rice v. State of Indiana
45S00-1206-CR-343
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s revised sentencing order of life in prison without parole. Rice argued the trial court erred in considering non-statutory aggravating circumstances to support the order and his sentence should be revised. The revised order comports with Supreme Court precedent and does not represent an abuse of the trial court’s discretion.

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Tax Court

Larry G. Jones and Sharon F. Jones v. Jefferson County Assessor
39T10-1308-TA-68
Tax. Denies the assessor’s motion to dismiss. Instructs the Joneses to file no later than April 28 a request for the Indiana Board of Tax Review to prepare a certified copy of its administrative record in the case. In accordance with Indiana Tax Court Rule 3(E), the Joneses shall then file the record with the clerk of the Tax Court within 30 days after they have received notification from the board that the record has been prepared. Once the court receives the board’s record, it will schedule another telephonic case management conference to discuss the need for additional briefing and oral argument.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Taylor v. State of Indiana
45A03-1310-CR-406
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition for expungement. Determines that the word “shall” in Section 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement. And such an interpretation does not render Section 35-38-9-9(d) meaningless because that section applies to other parts of the statute where the trial court does have discretion to deny a petition for expungement.

Geoffrey A. Gilbert v. Melinda J. Gilbert
57A03-1308-DR-312
Domestic relation. Affirms order approving mother’s relocation request. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting mother’s request to relocate because she had a good faith and legitimate purpose for relocating, and the move was not contrary to the children’s best interests. Additionally, mother is not entitled to appellate attorney fees because father’s appeal is not frivolous or in bad faith. Judge Robb dissents.

Charrise Belton v. State of Indiana
49A04-1310-CR-487
Criminal. Reveres conviction of Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended. The state presented insufficient evidence to negate Belton’s necessity defense.

Teresa Fry n/k/a Teresa Dolan v. Michael Fry
64A03-1307-DR-262
Domestic relation. Affirms grant of Michael Fry’s emergency petition for modification of custody, alleging that Teresa Dolan suffers from a degenerative illness that renders her unable to adequately care for the children. Finds the trial court had jurisdiction to determine the custody of K.D. and it committed no legal error.

Geico General Insurance Company v. Laura B. Coyne, Cheryl A. O'Mailia, and James O'Mailia
20A04-1307-CT-325
Civil tort. Reverses award of attorney fees to the O’Mailias, which was based upon GEICO litigating in bad faith. GEICO’s counsel’s statements show the decisions not to disclose certain information was strategic in nature and believed to be within the bounds of the law. Denies the couple’s request for appellate attorney fees. Judge Barnes concurs in a separate opinion.

Joshua Cornett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1308-CR-730
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

In Re: the Marriage of: Gordon Somerville v. Effie K. Somerville (NFP)
49A02-1308-DR-735
Domestic relation. Vacates trial court’s judgment in part because husband established a prima facie error with regard to the trial court’s valuations of marital property and remands with instructions.

K.P. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
87A04-1307-JV-384
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication that K.P. committed two acts that would be child molesting if committed by an adult.

Michelle D. Gauvin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1306-PC-542
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Thomas Curtis Edmond v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1303-PC-90
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Gwendolyn F. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1308-CR-678
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony robbery and Class C felony battery and remands with instructions to enter judgment upon Jones’ felony intimidation conviction as a misdemeanor and resentence her.

Patrick R. Taylor v. Jason Evans, Curtis Evans, and Chrystal Evans (NFP)
49A02-1303-CT-195
Civil tort. Affirms dismissal of Taylor’s personal injury action for failure to comply with a discovery order.

Daniel Torres v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A05-1305-CR-267
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

Barbara Wiggles v. Sandlian Management Corporation d/b/a U-Stor Self-Storage (NFP)
49A02-1306-CT-511
Civil tort. Affirms decision to grant U-Stor’s motion to strike Wiggles’ affidavit and its decision to grant U-Stor’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

Ben L. Macon v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1309-CR-364
Criminal. Affirms denial of Macon’s motion to sever and hold two separate trials.

The Indiana Supreme Court posted no decisions Thursday prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.

 

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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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