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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. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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