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Opinions August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013
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Opinions Aug. 13, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Rollett Family Farms, LLC. v. Area Plan Commission of Evansville-Vanderburgh County, Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners, and Vanderburgh County Recorder

82A01-1301-PL-43
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court judgment denying claims that “lots of record” for boundaries of river camps could be established based on the testimony of longtime residents. The lack of official documentation defeats the plain meaning of the words “of record,” requiring some sort of official documentation in the public record, the panel ruled.

Gregory A. Harris v. State of Indiana
39A05-1205-CR-239
Criminal. Affirms trial court rulings denying Harris’s motion to dismiss a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor after a hung jury created a mistrial, as well as a state motion to amend the charge by adding the language “or criminal deviate conduct.” Double jeopardy does not bar retrial on the sexual misconduct charge, but the state is barred from amending the charge because of the statute of limitations.

Richard Littke v. Laurie Littke
64A03-1211-DR-509
Domestic relation. Reserves order dismissing father’s petition for postsecondary educational expenses as untimely and remands to the trial court to make a determination on the merits of father’s petition. Rules that an amendment to Indiana Code 31-16-6-6, which allows a parent to file a petition for education needs until the child becomes 21-years-old, makes the father’s petition timely.   

Gabriel Atkinson v. State of Indiana
12A02-1302-CR-149
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of motion to suppress the evidence obtained during a traffic stop. Concludes although Atkinson did not commit an actual traffic infraction, the deputy’s training and experience along with his protracted observation of Atkinson’s driving gave the law enforcement officer a reasonable suspicion that the driver was impaired and presented a potential risk. This was sufficient to conduct an investigatory stop of Atkinson.  

Cory A. Myers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A05-1302-CR-90
Criminal. Affirms conviction for domestic battery, as a Class D felony.  

Jeremiah Kelley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1303-CR-281
Criminal. Affirms 21-year sentence imposed following Kelley’s guilty plea to class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.  

John Latta v. State of Indiana (NFP)
12A04-1212-CR-618
Criminal. Affirms conviction of one count burglary as a class B felony and five counts of theft as a class D felony. Finds the prosecutor’s questions about the victim’s husband becoming a judge were inappropriate but does not rise to the level of fundamental error.  

In Re The Adoption of S.H., L.H., and J.H., Benjamin Hankins v. G.Nick Peterson, Andrea Peterson (NFP)
18A02-1212-AD-1020
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s determination that Hankins’s consent is not required in the adoption proceedings of his three children, S.H., L.H. and J.H. Rules the determination that Hankins’s consent is unnecessary if supported by clear and convincing evidence, and the adoption by the children’s maternal grandparents is in their best interest.
 
John Dumitru v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A05-1210-PC-501f
Post conviction relief petition. Affirms post-conviction court’s denial of relief following Dumitru’s conviction for murder, a felony, attempted murder, a Class A felony, two counts of neglect of a dependent, as Class D felonies, and resisting law enforcement, as a Class A misdemeanor.

Lebronze Myles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1301-CR-25
Criminal. Affirms Myles’ convictions as an accomplice to both Class B felony burglary and Class C felony robbery.  

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of L.P., D.P., & C.H., (Minor Children), and J.P. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
87A05-1212-JT-622
Juvenile termination of parental rghts. Affirms termination of J.P.’s (mother) parental rights.

Terry Chandler v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1302-CR-166
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class A misdemeanor possession of cocaine.  

Michael S. Parker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
91A02-1210-CR-830
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 15-year sentence, with 11 years executed, for Class B felony manufacturing methamphetamine.  

Eric D. Smith v. Superintendent, Et Al. (NFP)
46A04-1303-MI-164
Miscellaneous. Dismisses Smith’s appeals of the dismissal of eight complaints he filed in the LaPorte Superior Court. Finds his notices of appeal were untimely filed.  

Jesus Cruz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
38A02-1212-CR-969pdf
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 46-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony child molesting and three counts of Class C felony child molesting.
 
James E. Sizemore v. State of Indiana
(NFP)
31A05-1212-CR-626
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class C felony possession of methamphetamine and Class D felony possession of a controlled substance.  

Thomas E. Stevens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1301-CR-6
Criminal. Affirms five-year sentence for Class C felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury.  

Karen J. Marshall v. Casa M. Marshall, Center Bank, Treasurer of Porter County, State of Indiana (NFP)
64A03-1212-MF-517
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Finds the mortgage and loan documents do not constitute a valid and enforceable contract.

Sheldon C. McAuley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1302-PC-50
Post conviction relief petition. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief following conviction for Class C felony burglary, Class D felony residential entry and Class A misdemeanor interference with the reporting of a crime.  

LTC Investments Inc., v. EGR Indiana Properties, LLC. (NFP)
18A02-1301-PL-15
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s grant of EGR’s summary judgment motion.  

James E. Chalfant v. Lana Lods (NFP)
79A02-1212-CT-986
Civil tort. Reverses and remands trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Lana Lods. Concludes Chalfant did provide evidence in this case to rebut the prima facie evidence of probable cause and to identify a dispute of material fact.

Javier Maldonado v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1212-CR-654
Criminal. Affirms conviction for child molesting, a Class A felony, and 50-year sentence.  

Kelvin Lee Heyen v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1207-PC-345
Post conviction relief petition. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief petition following conviction and 21-year sentence for dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony, and a habitual offender charge.  

In The Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: M.A. (minor child): Mi.A. and C.A. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
73A01-1209-JT-411
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms juvenile court’s decision to terminate the parental rights of C.A. (mother) and Mi.A. (father) to their minor child, M.A.
 
No opinions were submitted by IL deadline by the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana Tax Court and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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  2. 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.

  3. 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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