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Opinions Aug. 27, 2012

August 27, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.

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

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ian McCullough v. State of Indiana
49A02-1106-PC-571
Post-conviction relief. Affirms post-conviction court’s judgment that trial counsel was not ineffective, holding that McCullough failed to carry his burden to show that the evidence as a whole leads unerringly and unmistakably to a conclusion opposite that reached by the post-conviction court.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Successor in interest to The Money Store Investment Corp., f/d/b/a First Union Small Business Capital v. Neal A. Summers, et al.
02A04-1103-CP-112
Civil plenary/rehearing. Reverses prior appellate ruling that complaint was not timely, affirms in part and remands in part, finding that the trial court erred in calculating a judgment of $627,570 in favor of restaurateur Paula Phillips by miscalculating profits against debt. It upheld the judgment on interest expense, salaries, taxes and attorney fees.

Joseph Meizelis v. Dana Durbin and Debra Durbin
70A01-1112-DR-598
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court properly found that Meizelis lacked a present interest in the Durbins’ farm and could not prevent a settlement between Dana and Debra Durbin. Remands with instructions to strike Meizelis’ lis pendens notice.

Mitzi Bosley v. Niktob, LLC, Design Industries, Inc., Peg Rail, Inc., and Originnovations, Inc.
49A04-1111-PL-599
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Niktob, holding that the arguments it presented in ejectment court were the same as those presented in another action in environmental court.

Robert Dowell v. State of Indiana
09A05-1201-CR-36
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. The court gave the jury an additional instruction on accomplice liability without re-reading the rest of the instructions. Remands for a new trial.

Michael Butler and Amanda Butler v. Jerry Hall and Susan Hall (NFP)
07A01-1111-SC-521
Small claims. Affirms trial court judgment in favor of defendants.

Arbie Clay, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1202-CR-156
Criminal. Affirms trial court conviction of Class C felony robbery.
 
Lloyd E. Lynch v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1111-CR-604
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony confinement.
 
Ayman Eldosougi v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1202-CR-103
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

K.C., on Behalf of M.C. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A01-1111-JV-533
Juvenile. Affirms delinquency order requiring payment of certain fees.
 
Robert Cruser, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1203-CR-187
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony domestic battery.
 
In the Matter of the Guardianship of Guido Joiko; Kenneth Schaaf v. Fifth Third Bancorp, Guido Joiko, and Geralyn Bradley (NFP)
87A04-1112-GU-705
Guardianship. Affirms trial court ruling that Joiko was of sound mind when he executed a revised trust.

Larry Schine v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1112-CR-1145
Criminal. Affirms in part and remands in part with orders to vacate a conviction of possession of cocaine, which the court ruled violated double jeopardy of a simultaneous conviction of dealing in cocaine.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.J.-G., Minor Child, and her Mother, S.J.-G.; S.J.-G. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
71A05-1112-JT-696
Juvenile/termination. Affirms trial court order terminating mother S.J.-G’s parental rights to A.J.-G.
 
Terry Chanley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
87A01-1201-CR-42
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of motion for jail time credit.

 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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