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Opinions April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court
Tom George, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
94S00-1010-CQ-544
Certified question. The NCAA’s ticket-allocation process for championship sporting events – only refunding the face value and not a handling fee to unsuccessful applicants – is not an illegal lottery under Indiana law because no prize was awarded to those applicants who received the opportunity to purchase tickets. Where an event coordinator creates the primary market for event tickets, the fair-market value of the tickets is equal to their face value and there is no “prize.”  

Bradley J. Love v. Robert Rehfus, et al.
30S01-1004-CV-162
Civil. Reverses in whole the order granting summary judgment for the defendants and remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion. The email that firefighter Love sent was constitutionally protected speech under the test set forth in Pickering and its progeny, and there are genuine issues of material fact that must be resolved in order to determine whether the township is liable for the fire chief’s actions. Fire Chief Rehfus fired Love because he believed the private email – which supported a political candidate – contained false statements of fact.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Rebecca D. Kays v. State of Indiana
42A05-1007-CR-504
Criminal. Reverses order Kays pay restitution as part of her probation for Class B misdemeanor battery. The trial court didn’t adequately inquire into her ability to pay or the manner in which she was to pay. On remand, the trial court should revisit the documentation, if it exists, submitted as to the victim’s damages and determine whether the amount of restitution ordered reflects the amount actually paid by the victim.

Michael L. Alexander v. State of Indiana
71A04-1006-CR-372
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony operating a motor vehicle after a lifetime suspension of driving privileges. Police inspection of BMV records doesn’t implicate the Fourth Amendment, so the police stop of Alexander based on the information in his driver’s record was permissible.

Charles R. Bilyeu v. Frani Bilyeu (NFP)
06A05-1006-DR-356
Domestic relation. Reverses order that Charles Bilyeu pay the attorney fees of his wife upon the dissolution of their marriage. Remands with instructions.

Scott F. Carbary v. Shawn Miller d/b/a SignificantCars.com (NFP)
49A02-1005-PL-582
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Shawn Miller on Miller’s suit to collect a commission. Awards Miller appellate attorney fees and remands for determination of the appellate attorney fees award.

A.C., et al., Alleged to be C.H.I.N.S.; D.B. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
49A05-1002-JC-154
Juvenile. Grants rehearing to clarify why In Re M.R. is distinguishable, directs the juvenile court to amend the participation degree, and affirms original opinion in all other respects.

Stephen C. Wood v. State of Indiana (NFP)
28A01-1009-CR-515
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine.

S.T.S. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
47A05-1009-JV-558
Juvenile. Affirms finding S.T.S. is a juvenile delinquent for committing what would be Class C felony burglary if committed by an adult.

Travis S. Chandler v. State of Indiana (NFP)
28A04-1009-CR-574
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class D felony battery on a law enforcement officer resulting in bodily injury and one count of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Eric A. Simmons v. State of Indiana (NFP)
65A01-1008-CR-389
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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