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Opinions April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Betty M. Jordan and Theodore R. Jordan v. Kelly D. Binns and U.S. Xpress Inc.
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms jury verdict in favor of Binns and his employer U.S. Xpress on the Jordans’ lawsuit filed after Betty Jordan lost both of her legs while riding a motorcycle and being hit by the tractor-trailer driven by Binns. Rejects claims on appeal that improperly admitted hearsay evidence warrants a new trial. The court found that some hearsay evidence regarding Betty Jordan’s statement that she was at fault in a motorcycle accident was improperly admitted, but it was cumulative, and other evidence presented at trial strongly favored the defendants’ position.

United States of America v. Geoffrie Allen Lee Dill
12-1733
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms Dill’s convictions for various drug and firearm offenses. Though the parties agree that the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 24(c)(3) prohibits alternates from deliberating with the regular jury, Dill has offered no evidence to suggest that the alternate juror in the room during deliberations participated in deliberations. There is no plain error.

United States of America v. Steven Dotson

12-2945
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Even though the gun was not in working order when it was pointed at a woman during an alleged assault, it was designed to be a gun, never redesigned to be something else, and was not so dilapidated as to be beyond repair, so it fits the statutory definition of a firearm.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Lawrence Albores, Jr. v. State of Indiana
45A03-1207-CR-327
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to give Albores’ proposed jury instruction regarding the presumption of innocence.

Welty Building Co., LTD. and, Ohio Farmers Insurance Company v. Indy Fedreau Company, LLC, et al.
49A02-1206-PL-493
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Welty’s motions to stay proceedings and compel arbitration. Welty did not waive its right to insist upon arbitration of its disputes with the subcontractors. Remands for arbitration between Welty and the subcontractors, and for the trial court to assess whether the litigation between Ohio Farmers and the subcontractors should be stayed pending that arbitration.

Edward W. Clemons v. State of Indiana
73A01-1207-CR-327
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felonies possession of an animal for purposes of an animal fighting contest and promoting an animal fighting contest, and Class B misdemeanor possession of animal fighting paraphernalia. The state presented sufficient evidence to support the convictions.

John V. Sebring v. Air Equipment and Engineering, Inc., Donaldson Co., Inc., William W. Meyer and Sons, Inc., Newton Conveyors, Inc. and Emerson Power Transmission Corp.
02A05-1211-PL-566
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of Newton Conveyors Inc.’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction a lawsuit brought by Sebring after he was injured at work while using a dust collector with a component manufactured by NCI. NCI’s role in the manufacturing process took place entirely within Texas, and the manufacturer of the final product unilaterally decided to ship the product to Indiana. Under these circumstances, NCI’s contact with Indiana is too attenuated to support jurisdiction.

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., as Trustee under the pooling and servicing agreement dated as of Nov. 1, 2002, Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2002-HE3 v. Patricia Harris and Shawn Harris
34A02-1206-MF-467
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses dismissal of Deutsche’s cause of action against the Harrises and denial of its motion for relief from the court’s quiet title decree. The trial court did not have authority to enter the quiet title decree to the extent that it ruled or order that the bank no longer held any interest in the property under the mortgage or that the note was cancelled, and the court erred or abused its discretion in denying the bank’s motion for relief from judgment on that basis. Remands with instructions to reinstate the cause of action and for further proceedings.

Thomas Porter v. State of Indiana
49A02-1205-CR-398
Criminal. Affirms conviction of operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension as a Class C felony, reverses suspension of Porter’s driving privileges for life and remands for further proceedings. The police officer had a reasonable basis for stopping Porter’s car when he couldn’t read the license plate from 50 feet away. The trial court exceeded statutory authority and improperly suspended his driving privileges for life.

Sterlen Shane Keller v. State of Indiana

59A01-1206-CR-271
Criminal. Keller waived his right to challenge the state’s amendment of the charging information. He has not shown that his right to a speedy trial was violated, that the admission of his statements to police was improper, or that the trial court abused its discretion in instructing the jury. Pursuant to the single larceny rule, the convictions for theft of the Social Security check and for theft of the two rings must be vacated. Although there is sufficient evidence to support the auto theft, theft, and burglary convictions, there is insufficient evidence to support the failure to report a dead body conviction as charged by the state. Keller’s modified sentence of 29 years does not violate the statutory limit on consecutive sentences, and he has not shown that his sentence is inappropriate.

Jordan Heimansohn v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A01-1209-CR-399
Criminal. Reverses conviction of driving while suspended as a Class A misdemeanor.

Brian G. Sachs v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A01-1209-CR-421
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

R.D. v. A.W. & M.W. (NFP)
26A01-1208-JP-372
Juvenile. Affirms award of custody of minor A.W. to the step-grandparents.

State of Indiana v. Bobby Walden (NFP)
49A04-1211-CR-566
Criminal. Reverses grant of Walden’s motion to dismiss.

Rodney Juan Willis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1208-CR-695
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony receiving stolen property.

Aaron Lee Anderson, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)

29A02-1208-CR-694
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

James Rice v. State of Indiana (NFP)
80A02-1208-CR-693
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony battery.

Justin Deon Coates v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1207-CR-359
Criminal. Reverses conviction and sentence for Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

In Re: The Paternity of B.L.E.; M.T.R. and M.J.R. v. A.E. (NFP)

92A03-1210-JP-419
Juvenile. Remands to the trial court to enter an order containing findings and conclusions in case in which the trial court denied the grandparents’ petition for visitation.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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