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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
13-1385
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
20S00-1206-LW-560
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
55S01-1312-CR-841
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
71A03-1303-CR-91
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
81A05-1301-ES-17
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
55A05-1302-PC-80
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
49A05-1210-PL-533
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
92A03-1208-CC-358
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)
02A04-1304-CR-181
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony sexual battery.

Raphael Miles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1306-CR-295
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence.

Maxwell Swisher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
06A04-1304-CR-173
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)
29A04-1305-JC-216
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)
82A01-1302-CC-61
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)
49A02-1304-JT-333
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Jeffrey O. Gilstrap v. Michael D. Mount (NFP)
39A01-1303-SC-103
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. 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

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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