Opinions Aug. 26, 2014

August 26, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Smith v. Richard Brown
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Jose B. Rodriguez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.