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Opinions Aug. 26, 2014

August 26, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Smith v. Richard Brown
12-3731
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division.
Judge James T. Moody
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Smith’s habeas petition. Finds although Smith’s counsel appeared to be particularly deficient, Smith failed to demonstrate how his lawyer’s substandard effort prejudiced his case since there was overwhelming evidence against him.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Lamont Carpenter v. State of Indiana
02A05-1309-CR-467
Criminal. Affirms convictions of five counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine, Class B felony unlawful possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon, Class C felony possession of a handgun with altered identifying marks, and Class D felony possession of marijuana. Finds that as the jury was not aware Carpenter was a serious violent felon, he was not prejudiced by the partial  bifurcation of his trial. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting mail with his name and address taken during a search of his home because it was not hearsay, and Carpenter was not subjected to double jeopardy when he was convicted of possession of a firearm by an SVF and possession of a handgun with altered identifying marks.

In re the Marriage of: Wade R. Meisberger v. Margaret Bishop f/k/a Margaret Meisberger
39A01-1402-DR-76
Domestic relation. Remands trial court order on all pending issues denying Wade Meisberger’s motion to modify parenting time and motion to correct error, instructing the trial court to make necessary findings in order to restrict father’s parenting time such that parenting time for father, now incarcerated, might endanger his son’s physical health or significantly impair his emotional development.

Daryl Schweitzer and Lynn Schweitzer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company and Jennifer Gholson Insurance Agency
45A03-1307-CT-248
Civil tort. Affirms entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, finding the Schweitzers were not entitled to additional payments under their homeowner’s insurance policy after a fire destroyed their home and insurance provided total payments of $326,040 for the dwelling.

Jeffrey Crider v. Christina Crider
53A05-1307-DR-358, 53A04-1401-DR-26
Domestic relation. Reverses decision to automatically vest “ownership and control” in stocks and membership interests of Jeff Crider upon his failure to pay a $4.7 million equalization judgment within 180 days. Affirms order he pay Christina Crider that equalization judgment, plus interest accruing after 90 days and to pay any attorney fees she incurs in collecting the judgment. Finds the trial court’s decision to modify his child support obligation after an appeal had been initiated in this case is void and the child support obligation remains at $308 per week. Remands for further proceedings. Affirms in all other respects.

Steven Anderson v. State of Indiana
49A02-1309-CR-788
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony escape for violation of home detention, holding that the court did not err by admitting evidence of events preceding Anderson’s arrest, including evidence from the company that monitored his ankle bracelet showing he was not in his home after he was required to be.   

Ann Withers v. State of Indiana
48A02-1403-CR-130
Criminal. Affirms termination of placement in drug court program and order reinstating an executed 5-year, 6-month prison sentence for convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors, and Class D felony neglect of a dependent. The trial court was authorized to take judicial notice of electronically signed attendance reports showing Withers had missed multiple mental health appointments, and it did not abuse its discretion in terminating her participation in drug court.  

State of Indiana v. Brandon Scott Schulze
73A01-1311-CR-471
Criminal. Reverses the trial court’s order reinstating Schulze’s driving privileges. Schulze, who was barred from driving after he refused to take a chemical test for alcohol intoxication, argued the suspension of his license was invalid because the arresting officer was not certified to administer the chemical test. The COA finds Schulze’s argument fails because state statute does not require the arresting officer to be trained to perform a chemical test and, if Schulze had agreed to submit to the test, the officer could have found a qualified person to give the test.   

Louise Frontz, Guardian of the Person and Estate of Brian O'Neal Frontz, and Brian Frontz v. Middletown Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Sinclair Glass
05A04-1307-PL-364
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Middletown Enterprises. Finds although Frontz was a temporary worker assigned to Middletown, the company was his joint employer along with the temp agency. Therefore, Frontz cannot file a lawsuit against Middletown seeking remedy for his severe injuries but can only file a workers’ compensation claim against the company.

Lawrence Mulry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1312-CR-1035
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Jose B. Rodriguez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1309-CR-491
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class A felony child molesting. Finds although the trial court did abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of extra-jurisdictional prior bad acts, the error was harmless.

In re the Marriage of: Robin D. (Hanson) Blankenship and James E. Hanson, James E. Hanson v. Robin D. (Hanson) Blankenship (NFP)
41A05-1310-DR-511
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of James Hanson’s petition to modify child support and granting of Robin Blankenship’s verified petition for rule to show cause, holding Hanson in contempt based on his child support arrearage. Judge James Kirsch dissents. He argues the trial court did abuse its discretion in denying the modification and recommends the court reverse the order and remand with instructions to enter a new child support order.

Leroy Shoaff v. Denisa Dekker (NFP)
45A05-1401-CT-43
Civil tort. Affirms judgment for $386,000 against Shoaff for his fault in a 2007 motor vehicle accident that injured Dekker’s knee.

Fernando Miranda v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1401-CR-10
Criminal. Affirms convictions for Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.

Orange County v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Daniel Harris (NFP)
93A02-1403-EX-144
Civil. Affirms the Review Board of the Department of Workforce Development’s determination that Orange County did not file a timely appeal to the decision that Harris was eligible for unemployment benefits.

Destiny Skeen v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Hub Restaurant LLP (NFP)
93A02-1401-EX-57
Civil. Reverses decision by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that Skeen was discharged for just cause. Concludes the Review Board decision was not supported by substantial evidence.
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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