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Opinions April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Wachovia Financial Services, Inc. v. Dune Harbor, LLC, et al.
64A03-1008-MF-415
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses summary judgment order that a vendor lien was created in favor of and in force for Lefty’s Co-Ho Landing when Wachovia recorded its mortgages, stating that a genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether the lien, if created, was in force. Remands for further proceedings.

Lola Austin v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
64A04-1008-MI-514
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s affirmance of Family and Social Services Administration’s imposition of transfer penalty upon Lola Austin’s application for Medicaid nursing home benefits, based upon Austin’s payment of $35,500 to her nephew and his wife, James and Julianne Mack, prior to applying for Medicaid nursing home benefits.

Michael D. Bennett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A04-1010-CR-658
Criminal. Affirms sentences for Class D felony resisting law enforcement and Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of D.W., et al.; A.W. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
49A02-1009-JT-1076
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Antonio Dallas Jenkins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
68A01-1008-CR-417
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony dealing in a Schedule III controlled substance.

Timothy Robertson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
27A02-1008-CR-928
Criminal. Affirms order revoking probation and ordering that Timothy Robertson serve two years of his previously suspended sentence.

Earl Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1006-PC-305
Post conviction relief petition. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Lyle Tucker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
60A01-1010-CR-569
Criminal. Dismisses as moot Lyle Tucker’s appeal, as Tucker has already served the executed portion of his sentence.

Anthony Scott v. Saundra L. Walden (NFP)
29A05-1004-PL-250
Civil plenary. Affirms order dividing property between Anthony Scott and Saundra Walden and denies Walden’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Jeremiah Farmer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1005-CR-231
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 20-year sentence for one count of Class B felony robbery and one count of Class B felony burglary.

Marvin Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1007-CR-371
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony battery to a law enforcement officer.

Matter of the Supervised Estate of Mary Mikels (NFP)
36A05-1006-ES-429
Estate, supervised. Affirms order authorizing Jackson County Bank, the personal representative of the estate of Mary Mikels, to sell real property, pay claims, and close the estate.

Walter Wayne Bowles v. Terri E. Bowles (NFP)
30A01-1012-DR-620
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s order granting wife’s motion to correct error.

Company v. K.S. and Review Board (NFP)
93A02-1011-EX-1205
Civil. Affirms decision of Department of Workforce Development’s Unemployment Insurance Review Board to reinstate unemployment insurance benefits.

Michael P. Heffern v. State of Indiana (NFP)
38A05-1007-CR-462
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder and Class B felony robbery.

Andrew Peters v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1011-CR-621
Criminal. Affirms order revoking probation and ordering that Andrew Peters serve the remainder of his previously suspended sentence.

Alisha Gentry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1007-CR-814
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor prostitution.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.H., et al.; S.H., et al. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
45A03-1009-JT-480
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

David Griffin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A05-1006-CR-438
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to admit into evidence David Griffin’s statement to police. Vacates theft conviction on double jeopardy grounds and remands to trial court to enter judgment accordingly.  

Stephanie Henry v. James Henry (NFP)
28A05-1010-DR-696
Domestic relations. Affirms trial court’s award of custody of the children to maternal grandparents.

Christopher Conwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1008-CR-861
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s admission into evidence of post-arrest statement.

Myron Bernard James v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1007-CR-830
Criminal. Affirms in absentia sentencing.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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