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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. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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