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Opinions Aug. 31, 2011

August 31, 2011
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Indiana Supreme Court
Quincy Branham & Shannon Branham v. Rodney Varble & Carol Varble
62S04-1103-SC-139
Small claim. Reverses orders to pay $50 per month and the order Quincy Branham submit five job applications a week.  Affirms order to return for a status check. A court does not err when it orders a party to return for status checks some limited number of times, even if an information of contempt has not been filed.

Quincy Branham & Shannon Branham v. Rodney Varble & Norman Chastain
62S01-1103-SC-141
Small claim. Reverses order that Quincy and Shannon Branham pay on the judgment despite their lack of non-exempt income. The record doesn’t show that the Branhams have any property or income that is not covered by an exemption. Reverses order that Quincy file a certain number of job applications per week. Court orders to seek employment or to seek better employment are not a proper part of a proceeding supplemental.

Wednesday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no opinions from Indiana courts at IL deadline.


Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Area Foundation of the United Methodist Church, Inc., d/b/a United Methodist Church, Bishop Michael Coyner, Ann Glass, and Robert Ostermeier v. Lynn Snyder
49A05-1011-CT-715
Civil tort. Reverses denial of the church’s motion for summary judgment on Rev. Snyder’s defamation claim. The church has made a prima facie showing that the trial court erred on this matter because the statements at issue involve Snyder’s fitness for ministry. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the church on Snyder’s breach of contract claim. The trial court couldn’t determine whether he had an enforceable contract without becoming excessively entangled in church doctrine in violation of the First Amendment. Remands for further proceedings.

Max H. Bonecutter v. Discover Bank
46A04-1009-SC-598
Small claim. Affirms small claims court judgment in favor of Discover Bank of $4,569.17 plus court costs. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Bonecutter’s motion to dismiss under Trial Rule 41(E) for failure to prosecute. The evidence was sufficient to find that an agreement existed between Bonecutter and Discover and that Bonecutter was required to make payments, which he did not do.  

State of Indiana v. Stephen Alter
85A04-1101-CR-44
Criminal. Affirms grant of motion to suppress filed by Alter. The officers lacked reasonable suspicion to further detain Alter for investigatory purposes under the Fourth Amendment at the time one of the officer’s directed Alter to open a small bag and give him anything illegal or give him the marijuana.

Naomi Paddock v. Bradley K. Maikranz, et al. (NFP)
82A05-1010-CT-636
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Maikranz and Fifth Third on Paddock’s suit alleging violations of the Indiana Uniform Securities Act, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

Tony Benson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A05-1103-CR-90
Criminal. Reveres order granting Benson permission to file a belated notice of appeal and dismisses Benson’s appeal of his sentence.

Richard Swoboda v. Richard Stalbrink, Jr. (NFP)
46A04-1102-CT-39
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Stalbrink Jr. in Swoboda’s claim for legal malpractice.

Aimee Cotton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A05-1101-CR-30
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony neglect of a dependent.

Eqwan Garrett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1101-CR-2
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and Class D felony pointing a firearm.

Jerry Perry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1012-CR-1363
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class B felony burglary, two counts of Class C felony robbery, Class C felony conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of Class D felony criminal confinement.

Dohjae Kirkland v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1101-CR-6
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony robbery.

Nelson Gary, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1012-CR-1367
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony arson and three counts of Class C felony criminal confinement.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of I.N. and J.T-R.; D.R.N., Jr. v. IDCS (NFP)
20A03-1101-JT-19
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Steve A. Morrison v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1012-IF-1337
Infraction. Affirms finding that Morrison committed a Class C infraction of failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.

Melinda Engelking v. John T. Cosby (NFP)
03A01-1101-CC-17
Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of Cosby on his claim for breach of a land use agreement.

Richard L. Snider and Sherrie W. Snider v. European Warmblood Imports, Inc., Michael Pedersen and April Pedersen (NFP)
02A04-1009-PL-614
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the Sniders’ motion to correct error based on newly discovered evidence.

Antonio D. Murillo v. State of Indiana (NFP)
09A05-1011-CR-689
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony domestic battery.

Jacob J. Cummings v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A04-1103-CR-103
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony possession of methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of a syringe, and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Donald Klinzman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1003-PC-465
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Jermail D. Warren v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1101-CR-94
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class B felony dealing cocaine but reverses application of habitual offender sentencing enhancements to all three counts. Remands for removal of the enhancement from two sentences.  

Danny Grigsby v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1101-CR-41
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Reo Jon'ta Thompson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1012-CR-635
Criminal. Affirms sentence for two counts of murder in the perpetration of robbery.

Indiana Tax Court
Brenda Truedell-Bell v. Marion County Treasurer
49T10-1107-TA-46
Tax. Dismisses appeal. Truedell-Bell’s lack of a final determination from the Indiana Board of Tax Review deprives the Tax Court of subject matter jurisdiction.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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