Opinions Dec. 19, 2013

December 19, 2013
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
USA v. Roger Loughry
Criminal. Affirms Loughry’s conviction on 16 child-pornography charges after a second trial. Loughry was convicted on the same 16 counts previously, but the 7th Circuit reversed because evidence of “hardcore” pornography that was admitted at the first trial was ruled an abuse of discretion. On appeal of his conviction after the second trial, the 7th Circuit rejected Loughry’s claim that providing jurors during deliberations with images and videos that were admitted into evidence was highly prejudicial.

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Tyrice J. Halliburton v. State of Indiana
Life without parole. Affirms murder conviction and sentence of life without parole. The trial court did not err in admitting certain evidence. Concludes the trial court committed no error, let alone fundamental error, by admitting photographs into evidence. Finds the court’s limiting instruction was erroneous, but Halliburton made no claim that the error was fundamental and no such fundamental error occurred.

Scott Speers v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the trial court did not err by admitting the DNA evidence over Speers’ Confrontation Clause objection. A lab technician involved in a chain of custody of DNA evidence does not have to testify in order to satisfy the demands of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Brittney Watson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction. Based on the evidence, the jury could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that Watson either knew or intended that the victim would be killed and acted in concert with Steven and Stephon Rice to accomplish the deed.

In the Matter of the Estate of Stephen T. Hannebaum, Deceased, Renada Fay Hannebaum v. Mary Rebecca Hannebaum and Stephen T. Hannebaum, II, as Personal Representatives of Stephen T. Hannebaum
Estate. Affirms order finding Renada Hannebaum had forfeited her right to inherit from Stephen Hannebaum’s estate. The pieces of evidence, taken together, suggest a continuing behavior that is sufficient to sustain the trial court’s finding of an adulterous relationship between Renada and Doug Wilson in April 2011. The trial court properly found Renada left Stephen permanently rather than temporarily.
William Hinesley, III v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief from conviction of Class A felony child molesting. The post-conviction court properly determined that Hinesley failed to demonstrate that his counsel’s performance was deficient or prejudicial and his claim of prosecutorial misconduct is unavailable.

Meridian Mutual Insurance Company, n/k/a State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company v. Majestic Block & Supply, Inc., n/k/a Tutewiler Corporation
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Majestic Block & Supply. Majestic’s coverage was not barred by late notice or known loss, it did not benefit from a double recovery and it was entitled to prejudgment interest. However, State Auto’s arguments are not so frivolous, unreasonable or groundless as to require an award of attorney fees to Majestic.

Dana Companies, LLC v. Chaffee Rentals, a/k/a, Chaffee Rentals and Storage, BRC Rubber Group, Inc., Charles V. Chaffee, Karen J. Chaffee and Clifford Chaffee
Civil collections. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. Affirms the trial court rulings that in a contract dispute over industrial pollution cleanup costs that the doctrine of fortuity did not apply in Dana’s complaint against BRC. Dana is entitled to collect damages from BCR, which rented the industrial site Dana formerly owned, but only for the non-PCB contamination caused solely by BRC’s use. Remands to the trial court with orders to reduce the total awards, including prejudgment interest, from $154,632 to $7,383.

Edwin Rwoti v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony sexual battery.

Raphael Miles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence.

Maxwell Swisher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

In the Matter of: J.C. and A.M.C. (Minor Children), Children in Need of Services, and A.K.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms J.C.’s designation as a child in need of services but vacates with respect to A.M.C.

T. Kyle Buehner v. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union (NFP)
Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of the credit union, finding it had authority to seize funds in Buehner’s savings account to satisfy his father’s debt.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: D.W., Minor Child, G.W., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Jeffrey O. Gilstrap v. Michael D. Mount (NFP)
Small claim. Affirms denial of Gilstrap’s motion for relief from judgment.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues