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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. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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