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Opinions Aug. 10, 2010

August 10, 2010
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jermarcus Robinson
09-3955
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The District Court correctly refused to suppress the cocaine police officers pulled from Robinson’s buttocks after a traffic stop. The officer wasn’t satisfied with his initial effort to pat down Robinson and was justified to return to finish the job within the bounds outlined in Terry.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Joey Wilson v. State of Indiana
49A02-1001-CR-60
Criminal. Affirms convictions of receiving stolen auto parts as a Class C felony and driving while suspended as a Class A misdemeanor. Wilson waived for review his argument that the trial court erred in allowing the state to amend the charging information on the day before his trial was to begin. He failed to request a continuance to prepare for his defense. Wilson also failed to prove that the admission of his unredacted BMV record made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

Indiana Spine Group v. Pilot Travel Centers
93A02-1003-EX-315
Civil. Reverses dismissal by the Full Worker’s Compensation Board of ISG’s claim pursuant to Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-27. The two-year statute of limitations in that statue doesn’t apply. Remands for determination on the merits of ISG’s application for adjustment of claim for provider fee.

City of Indianapolis v. Cynthia Hicks on behalf of and as next friend of Jada Richards, a minor
49A02-1002-CT-95
Civil tort. Affirms nunc pro tunc order granting Hicks’ motion to correct error and reinstating her negligence suit brought against the City of Indianapolis on behalf of her minor child. The city waived any challenge based on the magistrate’s lack of authority to sign the order by not objecting until after time for ruling on the motion to correct error expired. The CCS entries provide a sufficient basis to later issue the order. The grant of the motion to correct error wasn’t an abuse of discretion because the city didn’t show noncompliance with the tort claim notice requirements of the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

Ryan Armstrong v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1002-CR-107
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and Class A misdemeanors possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Roosevelt Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-0911-PC-1124
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Timothy A. Stevens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-0912-CR-723
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences for Class C felonies forgery, and fraud on a financial institution, and three counts of Class D felony theft.

Thompson Thrift Construction Inc. v. Bank of Indiana, N.A. (NFP)
84A05-1001-PL-24
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Bank of Indiana in Thompson Thrift Construction’s attempt to foreclose its mechanic’s lien on a parcel of real estate on which the bank held three mortgages.

Indiana Spine Group v. Scenic Hills Care Center (NFP)
93A02-1003-EX-313
Civil. Reverses dismissal by the Worker’s Compensation Board of ISG’s application for adjustment of claim for provider fee. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Spine Group v. All Seasons Holdings (NFP)
93A02-1003-EX-316
Civil. Reverses dismissal by the Worker’s Compensation Board of ISG’s application for adjustment of claim for provider fee. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  4. 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.

  5. 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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